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Author Topic: convicted felon, +Demetri Khouri has returned to the United States  (Read 21472 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: May 13, 2009, 03:27:34 PM »


Was it fair for Israel to have an adulterer and murderer for a King? Then again... we have Psalm 51, don't we: true repentance... a heart like that of God's.

A Bishop is not a king, no matter how much some of them pretend to be. They're servants of Christ the church, and of us. We only have one king, that is Christ.
 

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"If" the bishop (or any bishop) has sinned and "if" the bishop truly repents, then "is" he a sexual offender? Perhaps in the eyes of the law but "is" he an offender OR "was" he an offender in God's eyes?

I don't know what God sees. But let's say he doesn't "see" a sexual offender, (of course you seem to be using the idea that our sinfulness is "covered" which really isn't Orthodox theology), we also don't know if God wants him to be a Bishop either. I mean, unless we get God's cell phone number, i don't get the point of your argument.



Quote
"If" you sin and truly repent, would you want to be constantly reminded of your past sin? I thought the Lord removes our sin as far as east is from west. You hold this bishop up to an impossibly high moral level... that of perfection. Do you honestly believe that your priest and your bishop have not had impure, lustful thoughts... ever? And our Lord has said that to lust after a woman (not grope her breast mind you) is to have committed that sin. Now what do you do? You have a priest... a bishop who doubtless have lusted since their ordination and therefore are guilty of such sins. So... we trust and hope that they confess their sins and truly repent of them. Bp Demetri was caught. He was punished. The question is: has he repented? If so, then what is the issue? Those of you who are holding our clerics up to impossibly high moral standards had better take a long, hard look at reality and at themselves. We expect forgiveness and forgetfulness of our Lord when it comes to our indiscretions but we're unwilling to forgive others. Bishops are men... and men are sinners. Bishops commit all manner of sin and we fool ourselves if we think they lead pure lives. We trust that they repent of their sin and this is what we trust of Bp Demetri.


Are you serious?! You're comparing the THOUGHT to an action? True, Orthodoxy doesn't "rank" sins, however no one in their right mind would suggest that thinking about killing someone is equally as bad as actually killing someone!

Are bishops sinners, yes. We know this...no one expects them to be perfect...however Bishops, who have taken monastic vows are not "one of the guys"..... Is it unfair that this man might have to live with some reminder of his sin for the rest of his life? maybe it is, but then he is a Bishop and  as a member of the clergy, by his office he is held to a higher standard. Pope Shenouda once wrote an article about this very topic (should priests and bishops be held to a higher standard) and he said YES! I don't remember where it was, but if anyone knows what I'm talking about, it would be good to post it.

 Not a standard of perfection, but a higher standard. No one has to be perfect, or even close to perfect to not grope women whom they don't know in a casino. So perfection has nothing to do with it.

NP


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« Reply #181 on: May 13, 2009, 03:35:15 PM »

If we can reinstate a bishop, who repents, for abusing a woman, then why not the same for a priest or bishop, who has abused boys?  Both are sex offenders and can anyone really trust and feel comfortable with either serving in the Church? 

Or how about a priest who robs banks part time? Or a priest who beats his wife? Or a bishop who steals money from the Church? (the last two examples are REAL examples BTW) I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.

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« Reply #182 on: May 13, 2009, 03:46:03 PM »

If we can reinstate a bishop, who repents, for abusing a woman, then why not the same for a priest or bishop, who has abused boys?  Both are sex offenders and can anyone really trust and feel comfortable with either serving in the Church? 

Or how about a priest who robs banks part time? Or a priest who beats his wife? Or a bishop who steals money from the Church? (the last two examples are REAL examples BTW) I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.



True, but do these show up on your record?  Sex offenders MUST register where they chose to live.  Who would feel comfortable having such a person around?  With money its possible to keep them far away from money, but with a sex offender, how can they return to ministry and yet be far away from what caused them to fall?  Anyone who ministers and falls, ideally, should be retired to a monastery where they would not have contact with whatever caused them to fall. 
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« Reply #183 on: May 13, 2009, 03:57:22 PM »

I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.
And maybe he genuinely believes what he's arguing. Wink  You may think his opinion is wrong, but is he wrong to have an opinion that differs from yours?
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« Reply #184 on: May 13, 2009, 04:13:16 PM »

Were talking about a Bishop a Apostolic Successor, not a lay person, who carries The ordination Thur the succession of The Holy Apostles that Christ established, this is not a small matter,its very grave...

They have to be held to a very high standard...Be perfect examples in Holiness ..He is the shepherd of Christs flock on Earth...If he can't live up to it he should of requested, being sent to a monastery and giving up his position as Bishop, or even leaving the priesthood ,instead of profaning it by getting drunk, gambling,and grabbing ....If he want the things of the world so much i say leave the priesthood and join the world,but don't it as a ordained bishop ...

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« Reply #185 on: May 13, 2009, 04:28:56 PM »


Greetings brothers and sisters:

It is my humble opinion that the best interest of our brother Demetri Khouri, and the best interest of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America would both be met by Demetri's permanent retirement as an active diocesan clergyman. This should be immediately followed by his permanent entrance into a more secluded life of renewed prayer, contemplation, fasting, et al, at the Orthodox monastery of his choice, as elderly retired bishops often do anyway.



Only in this way can he be removed from easy access to the temptations of life in a more luxurious secular environment as previously lived, and thus have an honest opportunity to address his problematic thinking and behaviors apart from the circumstances that contributed to them. Additionally, when retired to a monastic community, he would no longer be considered a potential threat to anyone and would no longer be a visible public embarrassment to anyone in the Archdiocese. He may well be in need of a course of professional counseling or psychotherapy, and perhaps an AA program as well.

I am assuming that all of this has been extraordinarily embarrassing and humiliating to Demetri himself, as it would be for most individuals. A conviction of this sort, and the required registration in the public records, would most often be a career killer in any field, but particularly so for a clergyman in the collective mind of the general public. Thus, his anonymous retirement to an undisclosed monastery secluded from the world at large would quickly remove him and his case from the public eye of moral scrutiny and condemnation. Demetri and his case would both be quickly forgotten as other fatter fish to fry are reeled in by the media, and this whole matter would be a done deal.

My concern is simply that those in authority within the Archdiocese, who will ultimately make the crucial decisions regarding Demetri's permanent residence and job description, are his life long buddies from the Old Country. I fear that they may be more concerned about some misdirected effort to help Demetri save face by demonstrating confidence in him with a new Auxiliary Bishop post, complete with all of the financial resources, special amenities and perks that he was unable to appropriately manage previously. That would be a recipe for future disaster all around, IMO.  Undecided

+Cosmos
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« Reply #186 on: May 13, 2009, 04:55:00 PM »

Only in this way can he be removed from easy access to the temptations of life in a more luxurious secular environment as previously lived, and thus have an honest opportunity to address his problematic thinking and behaviors apart from the circumstances that contributed to them. Additionally, when retired to a monastic community, he would no longer be considered a potential threat to anyone and would no longer be a visible public embarrassment to anyone in the Archdiocese. He may well be in need of a course of professional counseling or psychotherapy, and perhaps an AA program as well.

Isn't this what Metropolitan Philip already directed Bishop Demetri to seek?

Please note the date of this quote below, the contents, and where it came from.
I would like to preface this by saying that parishioners who really know me know <understatement>I'm not exactly a Metropolitan Philip apologist</understatement>*cough*

So, I'm going to exercise a right granted to all Americans at birth...that of parsing the statements made by authority figures.

However, I'd like to point out what His Eminence did right - and he did a LOT right in this statement.

...

3.  "I have directed Bishop Demetri to seek professional help."

He ORDERED, not requested.  In other words, he used the authority of his office, and quite properly.


...
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« Reply #187 on: May 13, 2009, 09:40:27 PM »

Irish Hermit, thank you so much for those verses from Holy Scripture. They were the verses which immediately came to mind when I started reading this thread-I couldn't erase them from my mind. 

Regarding this man being secluded in a monastery-I think this would be great. But I disagree somewhat that there will be no temptations there. Unfortunately, I have heard from friends (and seen with my own eyes) that there are some very corrupt monks in the monasteries. Sadly, one of my friends told me there was a young monk who routinely raped young female visitors. I was completely shocked. So women are apparently not totally safe from predators even in monasteries.

 But, I do personally feel it is asking too much to force men-even bishops-to remain celibate. It totally goes against nature and causes much sin. Look at the case of the poor young RC priest, Fr Alberto Cutie. I believe he's a sincere man and like what I've heard of him and wish he could marry his sweetheart and remain a priest. It's totally ridiculous that he can't. The impression I got was that this was some 11 (?) century canon and connected with preventing priests from passing church property on to their offspring. What carnality, and not biblical at all.

Additionally, as someone who truly cannot trust men anymore, I would like to say having such a bishop in the church would have a terrible impact on me as a woman. Unfortunately, I have met women who have been trifled with by our clergy-and they are damaged, tormented women. I myself fortunately was not taken advantage of by any clergyman, but even having had that terrible experience with a non-orthodox layman has sufficiently damaged me as a person. Going through the depressing experience of a man treating a woman with less than honour and respect can amazingly affect one's relationship with God. It's hard for me to explain this in words, but it's very true, and very real.

A clergyman as I see it, is in much the same position of trust as a therapist. If the therapist oversteps boundaries and takes advantage of a woman's trust and vulnerability, it is well-known to have devastating results. Some women who experience an illicit sexual relationship with such a person are damaged for life.

I know men are biologically programmed very differently from women, and I so often sense men simply don't understand how profoundly and adversely women are affected by such behaviour in men.

Forgive the long rant.
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« Reply #188 on: May 13, 2009, 09:53:24 PM »

Irish Hermit, thank you so much for those verses from Holy Scripture. They were the verses which immediately came to mind when I started reading this thread-I couldn't erase them from my mind. 

Regarding this man being secluded in a monastery-I think this would be great. But I disagree somewhat that there will be no temptations there. Unfortunately, I have heard from friends (and seen with my own eyes) that there are some very corrupt monks in the monasteries. Sadly, one of my friends told me there was a young monk who routinely raped young female visitors. I was completely shocked. So women are apparently not totally safe from predators even in monasteries.

 But, I do personally feel it is asking too much to force men-even bishops-to remain celibate. It totally goes against nature and causes much sin. Look at the case of the poor young RC priest, Fr Alberto Cutie. I believe he's a sincere man and like what I've heard of him and wish he could marry his sweetheart and remain a priest. It's totally ridiculous that he can't. The impression I got was that this was some 11 (?) century canon and connected with preventing priests from passing church property on to their offspring. What carnality, and not biblical at all.

Additionally, as someone who truly cannot trust men anymore, I would like to say having such a bishop in the church would have a terrible impact on me as a woman. Unfortunately, I have met women who have been trifled with by our clergy-and they are damaged, tormented women. I myself fortunately was not taken advantage of by any clergyman, but even having had that terrible experience with a non-orthodox layman has sufficiently damaged me as a person. Going through the depressing experience of a man treating a woman with less than honour and respect can amazingly affect one's relationship with God. It's hard for me to explain this in words, but it's very true, and very real.

A clergyman as I see it, is in much the same position of trust as a therapist. If the therapist oversteps boundaries and takes advantage of a woman's trust and vulnerability, it is well-known to have devastating results. Some women who experience an illicit sexual relationship with such a person are damaged for life.

I know men are biologically programmed very differently from women, and I so often sense men simply don't understand how profoundly and adversely women are affected by such behaviour in men.

Forgive the long rant.

Rosehip,

What you have written here has nailed it for me. I, as a woman, can relate to what you have said on a personal level.

love, Tamara
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« Reply #189 on: May 14, 2009, 10:44:40 AM »

If we can reinstate a bishop, who repents, for abusing a woman, then why not the same for a priest or bishop, who has abused boys?  Both are sex offenders and can anyone really trust and feel comfortable with either serving in the Church? 

Or how about a priest who robs banks part time? Or a priest who beats his wife? Or a bishop who steals money from the Church? (the last two examples are REAL examples BTW) I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.



True, but do these show up on your record?  Sex offenders MUST register where they chose to live.  Who would feel comfortable having such a person around?  With money its possible to keep them far away from money, but with a sex offender, how can they return to ministry and yet be far away from what caused them to fall?  Anyone who ministers and falls, ideally, should be retired to a monastery where they would not have contact with whatever caused them to fall. 

First, actually yes those crimes do show up on your record as well, though they might not be quite as easily accessed as the sexual offender registery is.

Secondly, I'm not defending the idea he should be returned to active authority in the Church. Read my posts, you might have me confused with another poster here.  I'm with you, and Tamara, and all those who say he should not be given Church authority. As far as sending him to a monastery, I guess I have no comment because if he truly has something to offer, "maybe" he could do something like teach, (a big maybe), if he's truly repentant....but I've consistently said he shouldn't be given authority again.


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« Reply #190 on: May 14, 2009, 10:59:13 AM »

I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.
And maybe he genuinely believes what he's arguing. Wink  You may think his opinion is wrong, but is he wrong to have an opinion that differs from yours?

It is if his opinion is wrong! Smiley

I get what your saying, but what if his opinion was that a Bishop who stole millions of dollars from the Church should be forgiven, and not judged, and remain a Bishop?

Is that opinion just as valid as any other? Sure in one sense it certainly is, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but if taken to it's ultimate conclusion (in this context) someone could argue all sorts of things. like, a priest who was caught soliciting prostitutes could be returned to active ministry in 2 years...ooops, another real example. Or a a clergymen who beat up his altar boys could be remain a priest. (an invented story, as far as I know) Or a Bishop who rapes a woman should be "forgiven" and remain a bishop. (again I just invented that) Is a person entitled to those opinions? Yeah they sure are. Are those opinions right? I guess with the argument that all opinions are valid, then I'd have to honestly say, I don't know.



however the issue is about Forgiveness, being the same thing as "trust".......Forgiveness is one thing, restoration to the Sacred priesthood is something totally different though. If a priest tells other people of my confession, am I commanded to forgive him? Yes! Do I have to "trust" him in the future and thus confess to him again? Absolutely not. It doesn't mean I hate the priest, it simply means I no longer trust him in his position as a confessor.


NP





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« Reply #191 on: May 14, 2009, 11:01:51 AM »

It is if his opinion is wrong! Smiley

I get what your saying, but what if his opinion was that a Bishop who stole millions of dollars from the Church should be forgiven, and not judged, and remain a Bishop?

Is that opinion just as valid as any other? Sure in one sense it certainly is, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but if taken to it's ultimate conclusion (in this context) someone could argue all sorts of things. like, a priest who was caught soliciting prostitutes could be returned to active ministry in 2 years...ooops, another real example. Or a a clergymen who beat up his altar boys could be remain a priest. (an invented story, as far as I know) Or a Bishop who rapes a woman should be "forgiven" and remain a bishop. (again I just invented that) Is a person entitled to those opinions? Yeah they sure are. Are those opinions right? I guess with the argument that all opinions are valid, then I'd have to honestly say, I don't know.



however the issue is about Forgiveness, being the same thing as "trust".......Forgiveness is one thing, restoration to the Sacred priesthood is something totally different though. If a priest tells other people of my confession, am I commanded to forgive him? Yes! Do I have to "trust" him in the future and thus confess to him again? Absolutely not. It doesn't mean I hate the priest, it simply means I no longer trust him in his position as a confessor.


NP
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« Reply #192 on: May 14, 2009, 11:12:51 AM »

Once you destroy trust, it is next to impossible to restore.
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« Reply #193 on: May 14, 2009, 11:13:31 AM »

Once you destroy trust, it is next to impossible to restore.
Yes, it is. Lord Have Mercy.
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« Reply #194 on: May 14, 2009, 11:16:29 AM »



 But, I do personally feel it is asking too much to force men-even bishops-to remain celibate. It totally goes against nature and causes much sin. Look at the case of the poor young RC priest, Fr Alberto Cutie. I believe he's a sincere man and like what I've heard of him and wish he could marry his sweetheart and remain a priest. It's totally ridiculous that he can't.

The two cases aren't really that comparable because as you probably know, most of our priests are married. (before ordination) A Bishop is supposed to be taken from the monastic way of life. And no one forces people into being a monk or a nun. It's totally volunatary in this day and age. Of course there might be some issues with people being tonsured monks at too young of an age etc, but that is probably not the case here. The big problem is that so many Bishops today are not taken from the monastery, (in the literal sense) and so the discipline may not really be there. Celibacy certainly isn't for everyone, but it's been a constant teaching of both the Old and New Testaments that it IS an option and IS possible for people that are called to it. And in theory, Bishops are supposed to be taken from people are are FIRST called to the celibate life. However I think in practical terms what's happening is that people decide they're called to be a Bishop, and THEN decide to do that, they must be celibate. And that is problematic. (again, just speaking in general here not about this specific case so much)


Quote
A clergyman as I see it, is in much the same position of trust as a therapist. If the therapist oversteps boundaries and takes advantage of a woman's trust and vulnerability, it is well-known to have devastating results. Some women who experience an illicit sexual relationship with such a person are damaged for life.

I think your analogy between clergy and therapist is a fairly good one.

Putting aside the celibacy issue, I agree with basically everything else you said.


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« Reply #195 on: May 14, 2009, 12:19:45 PM »

Quote
Putting aside the celibacy issue,

Yes, but in the Scriptures quoted by Irish Hermit, it is written that a bishop is to be the husband of one wife. So I believe we are straying from Scripture here. I know we don't believe in sola scriptura, but this seems like such a very obvious and simple qualification-I've never quite been able to see how it could be overlooked and so completely changed by the Church? Why doesn't the Church take obedience to such verses seriously? It seems so plain to me. If I understand correctly, it was actually changed for many of the same reasons the RCC chose to make celibacy for their priests mandatory-to prevent "church property" from being inherited by clergy/hierarchy offspring.
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« Reply #196 on: May 14, 2009, 12:40:59 PM »

Saint Paul gives us the "job description" for a bishop.  Probably as applicable today as it was in his time...

If a man desires the position of a bishop,
he desires a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless,

the husband of one wife,

temperate,

sober-minded,

of good behavior,

hospitable,

able to teach;

not given to wine,

not violent,

not greedy for money,

gentle,

not quarrelsome,

not covetous....

Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside,
lest he fall into reproach...

1 Timothy 3

Excellent point Father. I believe the Holy Scriptures are quite clear on the issue.
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« Reply #197 on: May 14, 2009, 12:47:43 PM »

Yes, but in the Scriptures quoted by Irish Hermit, it is written that a bishop is to be the husband of one wife. So I believe we are straying from Scripture here. I know we don't believe in sola scriptura, but this seems like such a very obvious and simple qualification-I've never quite been able to see how it could be overlooked and so completely changed by the Church? Why doesn't the Church take obedience to such verses seriously? It seems so plain to me. If I understand correctly, it was actually changed for many of the same reasons the RCC chose to make celibacy for their priests mandatory-to prevent "church property" from being inherited by clergy/hierarchy offspring. 

Um, the verse saying "husband of one wife" isn't a mandate on having married Bishops; but, rather, that the candidates for Bishop at the time who were married could only have married once; had no relations before their first wife; etc.  It doesn't say that they "must be married;" it's only a restriction on those who are married.  Celibate episcopacy wasn't new when it was normalized by the various councils; heck, it wasn't even new in the 1st Century (there are a few Apostles who were likely not married).  If I were you, I wouldn't read too much into that one verse, except that the Church put a high priority on monogamy even from the beginning.
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« Reply #198 on: May 14, 2009, 01:13:48 PM »

Yes, I agree with you Cleveland. However, nowhere does it FORBID bishops to be married. And what is better, to forbid them to marry and then they have mistresses on the side or commit other indiscretions, or they have a godly wife who will be able to be a true helpmeet to them in many ways?  I still think it is not wholesome for a man to refrain from marriage unless he truly has the gift of celibacy, and from what I've observed, this gift is very, very rare. The only benefit of a celibate hierarch that I can see is the necessity of frequent travels, which would place a great strain on any marriage. I even know of priests who seem to travel a great deal, leaving their wives behind, and I can see the sad state of such marriages. It can happen in any religious group, Protestant or otherwise.
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« Reply #199 on: May 14, 2009, 05:07:22 PM »

How many Bishop of any of the Orthodox Churches are actually Monastics?
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« Reply #200 on: May 14, 2009, 05:51:34 PM »

How many Bishop of any of the Orthodox Churches are actually Monastics?

Excellent question!

It often appears to be the case in the past many decades that those who are earmarked by the Holy Synod to become bishops were not monks living in a monastery at the time. They were certainly already ordained and experienced priests, who were either serving as church pastors somewhere or teaching at seminaries, and so forth, but they were not already monks with long term experience of personal spiritual formation in the monastic life.

So, in order to meet the official rules and regulations, those selected to assume the office of a bishop were simply sent to a monastery to be formally inducted for a brief period of time, thereby technically becoming a monk, and then withdrawn for elevation to the rank of a bishop thereafter. Presto manifesto! Done deal.

Understandably, most of those who are truly called by God to live a monastic life probably wouldn't find the office of a bishop to be very appealing, as it involves daily contacts with many people in more secular situations and surroundings, which are surely the antithesis of the more eremitical monastic lifestyle they felt called to.

For a true monk to accept such a post would require making a major personal sacrifice in behalf of the Church and the Faithful!

May God grant them many years!

+Cosmos
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« Reply #201 on: May 14, 2009, 05:54:16 PM »

For a true monk to accept such a post would require making a major personal sacrifice in behalf of the Church and the Faithful!


And that monk would be a wonderful Bishop !

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« Reply #202 on: May 14, 2009, 05:57:26 PM »

I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.
And maybe he genuinely believes what he's arguing. Wink  You may think his opinion is wrong, but is he wrong to have an opinion that differs from yours?

It is if his opinion is wrong! Smiley

I get what your saying, but what if his opinion was that a Bishop who stole millions of dollars from the Church should be forgiven, and not judged, and remain a Bishop?

Is that opinion just as valid as any other? Sure in one sense it certainly is, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but if taken to it's ultimate conclusion (in this context) someone could argue all sorts of things. like, a priest who was caught soliciting prostitutes could be returned to active ministry in 2 years...ooops, another real example. Or a a clergymen who beat up his altar boys could be remain a priest. (an invented story, as far as I know) Or a Bishop who rapes a woman should be "forgiven" and remain a bishop. (again I just invented that) Is a person entitled to those opinions? Yeah they sure are. Are those opinions right? I guess with the argument that all opinions are valid, then I'd have to honestly say, I don't know.



however the issue is about Forgiveness, being the same thing as "trust".......Forgiveness is one thing, restoration to the Sacred priesthood is something totally different though. If a priest tells other people of my confession, am I commanded to forgive him? Yes! Do I have to "trust" him in the future and thus confess to him again? Absolutely not. It doesn't mean I hate the priest, it simply means I no longer trust him in his position as a confessor.


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But then to assume that Douglas is playing devil's advocate because he offers an opinion that differs from what appears to be the majority opinion here?  I don't see that he's ever admitted to such an ulterior motive.
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« Reply #203 on: May 14, 2009, 05:58:46 PM »

And that monk would be a wonderful Bishop !

Not necessarily.  He might just as easily make a horrible pastor and administrator.  Being a monk doesn't automatically qualify someone as an excellent bishop.
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« Reply #204 on: May 14, 2009, 06:24:21 PM »

And that monk would be a wonderful Bishop !

Not necessarily.  He might just as easily make a horrible pastor and administrator.  Being a monk doesn't automatically qualify someone as an excellent bishop.

With this I do agree. Many monks, no doubt due to years of seclusion become very introverted and out of touch with the grim reality of everyday life for us lowly laity. I've met some such bishops, who, while kind and gentle, were obviously not used to dealing with people in a pastoral way and came across as remote, esoteric  individuals serving mostly ceremonial purposes.
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« Reply #205 on: May 15, 2009, 03:09:50 PM »

St. John Chrysostom talks about monks who are elevated to the episcopacy and, upon arrival, fall prey to demons  and temptations they formerly didn't have to deal with but which now easily overwhelm them.

Anyways...

As long as we're Bible-Thumping:

"For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?" (1 Cor. 5:12)

"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." (James 3:1)

St. Paul tells us that those who are in authority to teach (bishops, priests, deacons) are to be held to a higher standard.  Douglas compares bishops to King David.  Kings were appointed by prophets, who heard from God.  Sometimes God appointed kings for the express purpose of punishing Israel, and He took them out when it pleased Him.

But we're in the New Testament era now.  The Church appoints, and the Church deposes.  The Church binds; the Church looses.  And the Church is to determine if someone has failed to live up to the standard necessary for one of its bishops, who are to be the examples of holiness for all of us (and for those outside the Church).  In other words, as St. Paul says, the Church (laity included) ARE TO JUDGE THOSE INSIDE THE CHURCH.  If a bishop is abusing the office, he's out.  The Church makes that JUDGMENT (oh, my!) call, and it ain't a sin to do it.

But what of repentance?  Of course, a man may repent (and many have done so).  But as has been said, being a lay member of the Church, a baptized Christian, is one thing.  We're all that, regardless of office, and that's really the more important thing, anyway.  BUT BEING IN THE OFFICE OF THE CLERGY IS ANOTHER.  If he wants to repent with the end that his soul be saved, God be praised -- but repentance does not automatically mean that "everything goes back to the way it was"!  It didn't with King David -- not completely! -- much less should it with Demetri.

In other words, Douglas, if bishop Demetri wants to repent, he doesn't need membership in the episcopacy to do it -- nor should said membership be seen as part and parcel of "true repentance."  Allowing him back in would be the most outrageous and, well, stupid thing to do regarding him that I could think of.
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« Reply #206 on: May 15, 2009, 05:40:03 PM »

Yes, but in the Scriptures quoted by Irish Hermit, it is written that a bishop is to be the husband of one wife. So I believe we are straying from Scripture here. I know we don't believe in sola scriptura, but this seems like such a very obvious and simple qualification-I've never quite been able to see how it could be overlooked and so completely changed by the Church? Why doesn't the Church take obedience to such verses seriously? It seems so plain to me. If I understand correctly, it was actually changed for many of the same reasons the RCC chose to make celibacy for their priests mandatory-to prevent "church property" from being inherited by clergy/hierarchy offspring. 

Um, the verse saying "husband of one wife" isn't a mandate on having married Bishops; but, rather, that the candidates for Bishop at the time who were married could only have married once; had no relations before their first wife; etc.  It doesn't say that they "must be married;" it's only a restriction on those who are married.  Celibate episcopacy wasn't new when it was normalized by the various councils; heck, it wasn't even new in the 1st Century (there are a few Apostles who were likely not married).  If I were you, I wouldn't read too much into that one verse, except that the Church put a high priority on monogamy even from the beginning.

You are certainly right that Saint Paul's job definition is descriptive rather than prescriptive. To me this means that while St, Paul does not insist that bishops must be married, his job description is based on married episcopacy simply because that was the rule rather than the exception. So, while you are technically correct, you are not addressing Rosehip's main point: what should our rule be now, in this day and age? As the canon that separated a bishop from his wife said, the intent was not to do away with the principles of 1 Timothy 3 and the Apostolic Canons that echo them. The Trullan canon essentially admitted that the lesser of two evils was being introduced: the Holy Fathers chose preventing scandal and discord over fidelity to the Holy Scriptures, with the strongly implied sentiment that the canon was circumstantial and temporary.

If we used the same logic today, we could say that the laos is scandalized and seeks relief because (1) the monastics and celibate (widowed) priests do not provide an adequate base from which to choose good candidates for the office; and/or (2) there are too many scandals caused by the current crop of the (celibate) episcopacy. 
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« Reply #207 on: May 15, 2009, 09:24:58 PM »

St. John Chrysostom talks about monks who are elevated to the episcopacy and, upon arrival, fall prey to demons  and temptations they formerly didn't have to deal with but which now easily overwhelm them.

Anyways...

As long as we're Bible-Thumping:

"For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?" (1 Cor. 5:12)

"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." (James 3:1)

St. Paul tells us that those who are in authority to teach (bishops, priests, deacons) are to be held to a higher standard.  Douglas compares bishops to King David.  Kings were appointed by prophets, who heard from God.  Sometimes God appointed kings for the express purpose of punishing Israel, and He took them out when it pleased Him.

But we're in the New Testament era now.  The Church appoints, and the Church deposes.  The Church binds; the Church looses.  And the Church is to determine if someone has failed to live up to the standard necessary for one of its bishops, who are to be the examples of holiness for all of us (and for those outside the Church).  In other words, as St. Paul says, the Church (laity included) ARE TO JUDGE THOSE INSIDE THE CHURCH.  If a bishop is abusing the office, he's out.  The Church makes that JUDGMENT (oh, my!) call, and it ain't a sin to do it.

But what of repentance?  Of course, a man may repent (and many have done so).  But as has been said, being a lay member of the Church, a baptized Christian, is one thing.  We're all that, regardless of office, and that's really the more important thing, anyway.  BUT BEING IN THE OFFICE OF THE CLERGY IS ANOTHER.  If he wants to repent with the end that his soul be saved, God be praised -- but repentance does not automatically mean that "everything goes back to the way it was"!  It didn't with King David -- not completely! -- much less should it with Demetri.

In other words, Douglas, if bishop Demetri wants to repent, he doesn't need membership in the episcopacy to do it -- nor should said membership be seen as part and parcel of "true repentance."  Allowing him back in would be the most outrageous and, well, stupid thing to do regarding him that I could think of.

I respectfully disagree with your conclusions and your interpretation of those passages.
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« Reply #208 on: May 15, 2009, 09:54:15 PM »

Yes, but in the Scriptures quoted by Irish Hermit, it is written that a bishop is to be the husband of one wife. So I believe we are straying from Scripture here. I know we don't believe in sola scriptura, but this seems like such a very obvious and simple qualification-I've never quite been able to see how it could be overlooked and so completely changed by the Church? Why doesn't the Church take obedience to such verses seriously? It seems so plain to me. If I understand correctly, it was actually changed for many of the same reasons the RCC chose to make celibacy for their priests mandatory-to prevent "church property" from being inherited by clergy/hierarchy offspring. 

Um, the verse saying "husband of one wife" isn't a mandate on having married Bishops; but, rather, that the candidates for Bishop at the time who were married could only have married once; had no relations before their first wife; etc.  It doesn't say that they "must be married;" it's only a restriction on those who are married.  Celibate episcopacy wasn't new when it was normalized by the various councils; heck, it wasn't even new in the 1st Century (there are a few Apostles who were likely not married).  If I were you, I wouldn't read too much into that one verse, except that the Church put a high priority on monogamy even from the beginning.

You are certainly right that Saint Paul's job definition is descriptive rather than prescriptive. To me this means that while St, Paul does not insist that bishops must be married, his job description is based on married episcopacy simply because that was the rule rather than the exception. So, while you are technically correct, you are not addressing Rosehip's main point: what should our rule be now, in this day and age? As the canon that separated a bishop from his wife said, the intent was not to do away with the principles of 1 Timothy 3 and the Apostolic Canons that echo them. The Trullan canon essentially admitted that the lesser of two evils was being introduced: the Holy Fathers chose preventing scandal and discord over fidelity to the Holy Scriptures, with the strongly implied sentiment that the canon was circumstantial and temporary.

If we used the same logic today, we could say that the laos is scandalized and seeks relief because (1) the monastics and celibate (widowed) priests do not provide an adequate base from which to choose good candidates for the office; and/or (2) there are too many scandals caused by the current crop of the (celibate) episcopacy. 

Actually, the scandal admitted in the Trullian Canon was that there were bishops who had refused to put away their wives, meaning that the practice was already widespread but there were holdouts who were now being given an ultimatum by the Synod.
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« Reply #209 on: May 15, 2009, 10:40:32 PM »

I respectfully disagree with your conclusions and your interpretation of those passages.

Would you mind going into why this is so?
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« Reply #210 on: May 15, 2009, 11:29:53 PM »

I respectfully disagree with your conclusions and your interpretation of those passages.

Would you mind going into why this is so?

In truth, David... yes. My objections can be seen in my previous posts in this thread. There's really no point in repeating them.
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« Reply #211 on: May 16, 2009, 11:23:46 AM »

But then to assume that Douglas is playing devil's advocate because he offers an opinion that differs from what appears to be the majority opinion here?  I don't see that he's ever admitted to such an ulterior motive.

No he hasn't admitted to such. Of course he also hasn't address specific issues raised by various posters either. So who knows? Only God knows.

I'll leave it at that.

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« Reply #212 on: May 16, 2009, 11:54:54 AM »



No he hasn't admitted to such. Of course he also hasn't address specific issues raised by various posters either. So who knows? Only God knows.

I'll leave it at that.






Let me be perfectly straight-forward about this. I am not playing a devil's advocate role. I'm not sure who first suggested this but there's certainly no reason to draw that conclusion. I've included no winks or smileys in my posts to suggest such. Furthermore, I've addressed ALL specific issues (i.e. objections) "raised by various posters" to MY satisfaction. The fact that you or others in this thread don't happen to agree with them is irrelevant to me. I'm not easily bullied into adopting the opinion of the majority nor am I bullied into remaining silent if I believe something to be in error. The fact that a few posters here (and the sampling is exceedingly small when one considers that very few Orthodox Christians even bother to post in forums) happen to hold a contrary opinion and attempt to shout down (and ridicule mine) is of no consequence to me. I will also add that I've been somewhat disheartened by the treatment shown towards me when I happen to express an opinion with which others here disagree. My "sanity" has been brought into question... my ability to grasp the concepts of the discussion has been raised... and now it's been suggested that perhaps I'm simply playing a devil's advocate position because surely anyone in his right mind would agree with OUR position. I mean... after all... it's so clearly the true line of reasoning.  Roll Eyes

And now we have this sarcastic suggestion that the "Lord only knows" what he (Douglas) is up to in this thread.

Have you stopped to consider the fact that you know absolutely nothing about me other than what I chose to reveal in a few posts on this forum? I've revealed in other threads that I converted to the Orthodox Church eighteen years ago (actually...  it was nineteen years ago if you consider my catechumenate period). I revealed that I was old enough to have five grandchildren. I've earned two degrees so it's my judgment that I'm reasonably well educated. I held a position of responsibility for 32 years in one career. I'm from an evangelical background. Beyond that there is no need to reveal anything else. This should be enough to indicate that I have a modicum of intelligence to grasp the intricacies and nuances of your posts relating to this discussion. I also understand the bible verses given in support of your position and I hold to a different opinion.

What I ask for in OrthodoxChristianity.net is the freedom to express my opinions EVEN if they happen to run contrary to the majority provided I present them in a respectful manner and offer scriptural support as well as what I believe to be the Church's position on the matter. I also would think it reasonable to expect that I will not be ridiculed or bullied into adopting your views on matters. This is a forum and that suggests a back-and-forth discussion of issues concerning the Orthodox Church... not merely a back scratching of like-minded posters.

I don't believe I have suggested that anyone holding a different opinion to my own on this issue of Bp Demetri's possible re-instatement  is somehow lacking in intelligence or playing a devil's advocate. I've tried to address the topic of discussion rather than resort to personal comments. If I have in fact, offended someone directly (and not simply by holding to an opinion with which he/she does not agree) then I apologize.
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« Reply #213 on: May 16, 2009, 12:12:48 PM »

I'm beginning to think Douglas is playing "devil's advocate" here for some reason that we're not aware of yet. Maybe he'll clarify things soon.

I'm going to have to agree.  While I have my own particular feelings on the issue, it seems a bit unwise to characterize someone else's position as "playing 'devil's advocate'" unless they explicitly state that as their intent.  It's a fairly dismissive statement to make without support, considering that it (a) downplays their position to being one taken only superficially, and (b) presents the person as arguing for the sake of argument instead of from a reasoned and personally accepted position, since they haven't stated that it is a "devil's advocate" position.
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« Reply #214 on: May 16, 2009, 12:18:11 PM »

How many Bishop of any of the Orthodox Churches are actually Monastics?

Excellent question!

It often appears to be the case in the past many decades that those who are earmarked by the Holy Synod to become bishops were not monks living in a monastery at the time. They were certainly already ordained and experienced priests, who were either serving as church pastors somewhere or teaching at seminaries, and so forth, but they were not already monks with long term experience of personal spiritual formation in the monastic life.

So, in order to meet the official rules and regulations, those selected to assume the office of a bishop were simply sent to a monastery to be formally inducted for a brief period of time, thereby technically becoming a monk, and then withdrawn for elevation to the rank of a bishop thereafter. Presto manifesto! Done deal.

Understandably, most of those who are truly called by God to live a monastic life probably wouldn't find the office of a bishop to be very appealing, as it involves daily contacts with many people in more secular situations and surroundings, which are surely the antithesis of the more eremitical monastic lifestyle they felt called to.

For a true monk to accept such a post would require making a major personal sacrifice in behalf of the Church and the Faithful!

May God grant them many years!

+Cosmos

There's no official requirement that a bishop be a monk before consecration; it has instead just been a long-standing preference of the Church to consecrate as bishops those who come from the ranks of the monastic fathers (I'm not excluding the possibility that any one of the local Churches has a local canon requiring that all bishops be monks first).  It's actually a semi-controversial situation (making a monk a bishop), since in the tonsure and taking of the schemas the monk promises to be obedient to the Abbot and the monastery for life; he is then forced to be removed from that relationship in order to be ordained a bishop.  Yes, usually the Abbot will release him from that obedience, but still it's not a good habit to be in...  I'm neither "pro" or "con" ordaining monks as bishops, but I certainly don't think that monasticism should be a requirement of episcopal consecration.
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« Reply #215 on: May 16, 2009, 01:08:40 PM »

And that monk would be a wonderful Bishop ! 

Not necessarily.  He might just as easily make a horrible pastor and administrator.  Being a monk doesn't automatically qualify someone as an excellent bishop.

With this I do agree. Many monks, no doubt due to years of seclusion become very introverted and out of touch with the grim reality of everyday life for us lowly laity. I've met some such bishops, who, while kind and gentle, were obviously not used to dealing with people in a pastoral way and came across as remote, esoteric  individuals serving mostly ceremonial purposes.

I don't think difficulties in relating are restricted to monks or monastic hierarchs; I've met plenty of married priests and celibate in-the-world priests who have a very difficult go of being a pastor, administrator, or whatever else is involved in interacting with people in one's priestly life.  The standard should be the same for those both within and without the monastic ranks viz a viz election and consecration: only the best.
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« Reply #216 on: May 16, 2009, 04:40:55 PM »



Let me be perfectly straight-forward about this. I am not playing a devil's advocate role.

That was me who first said that this might be a possibility. Now that you've addressed it, I will apologize for suggesting such a thing. I suppose an explanation for my admittedly cynical assumption won't do much good, but here goes.......


Much of what you've said, is extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible for some of us (Ok I'll only speak for myself) for me to comprehend. I get the idea of forgiveness, but for me it's also an issue of trust. And I simply cannot trust someone who has done what Bishop Dimitri admitted to doing. Again, it doesn't mean I don't forgive him. It doesn't mean I don't think he's perfectly capable to a 100 other things in the Church, even in some sort of clerical role, but not in a position of trust. To me, it's like the Orthodox view of divorce. Divorce in cases of adultery only. (though "adultery" is now interpreted with economia, and IMO rightly so, but the concept is still the same)

True, there are marriages where adultery happens, and yet, the marriage, in time is healed and restored. However, adultery is the one reason and one reason alone, where divorce is allowed, because it's the sexual union that binds the marriage, and it's the sexual union that can destroy it. And if the act of adultery leads to divorce, then it's completely understandable and not out of line at all.

Well, a Bishop who does something to this extent has committed spiritual adultery in MY eyes and in my view, and so that trust that was once there, is gone. Maybe over time it would return, slowly, but surely, but like in a marriage it must happen in all honestly, out in the open, without some outside force rushing things along. Without back door meetings, and the like. This is why I continued to say throughout the thread that he shouldn't be restored "at this time"....I never said, "NEVER" because never is a long time. But the healing process has never happened here, at least not for the laity of the Church, and that is what troubles me.

I simply  found it very difficult to understand how you can take the position you seem to take on this particular issue, and so, I assumed (obviously wrongly) that something else was going on.

I apologize for that assumption, and I admit that my cynical nature is at times a weakness and causes sin. (though it has also prevented an equal amount of betrayal and spiritual struggle, again my personal experience and I've yet to balance it out)



Quote
Furthermore, I've addressed ALL specific issues (i.e. objections) "raised by various posters" to MY satisfaction.

But not to mine. (again only speaking for myself) When someone asks a question about how to bake a cake, and the chef says, "well you just mix these ingredients together and bake it"....what good is that to someone who has never baked a cake? What about the order? When to cream, how long to cream? even what "creaming" is for those who don't know. It might be to the chef's satisfaction but not to the person who has never baked a cake.

Since I cannot comprehend WHY you think bishop Dimitri should be restored to his ministry, and since you didn't explain it, at least in a way that someone from my perspective can understand, then these types of debates end up where they are.....into a "battle" of sorts pitting Christian against Christian. Yes you gave bible verses supporting your opinion, but as far as I could tell, you gave nothing more, and you never addressed the issue of trust, which is at the heart of the matter here. In the end, after reading your post, I don't think it's necessary. we both want what's best for the Church, and I'm willing to agree to disagree on this issue.

After reading your post, I see now I was mistaken, that there wasn't an ulterior motive going on, and for that assumption, I deeply apologize. (in all honesty I thought the "devil's advocate" thing was you trying to make a point to US (those with the opposite opinion) in a positive way, not that you were trying to mislead or deceive anyone, but simply trying to help us try and see the other view)

I now see you were simply expressing your heartfelt opinion, and i apologize for not seeing that sooner.

What I do not apologize for is my honestly in expressing my opinions, and not putting on my "Church face" when I post. I have a feeling you were doing the same thing, and that we probably have a lot more in common than we probably realize.

in peace,

NP









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« Reply #217 on: May 16, 2009, 06:05:14 PM »

Douglas, I wanted to add, after giving this much though, not only do I apologize, but I humbly beg your forgiveness in this matter. I didn't mean to offend, and I fear I've caused you, and probably others grief in this issue. i should not have interjected into the thread to begin with due to some personal issues in my life, and the fact that trust of clergy really hits home for me personally, (not that that's an excuse for my poor behavior), and I in all sincerity beg your forgiveness in this matter. I've been quick to judge, and I should know better.

In Christ, NP

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« Reply #218 on: May 16, 2009, 06:37:27 PM »


I get the idea of forgiveness, but for me it's also an issue of trust. And I simply cannot trust someone who has done what Bishop Dimitri admitted to doing. (snipped)

Well, a Bishop who does something to this extent has committed spiritual adultery in MY eyes and in my view, and so that trust that was once there, is gone. (snipped)

I simply  found it very difficult to understand how you can take the position you seem to take on this particular issue, and so, I assumed (obviously wrongly) that something else was going on.

Since I cannot comprehend WHY you think bishop Dimitri should be restored to his ministry, and since you didn't explain it, at least in a way that someone from my perspective can understand


Thanks for this, NP. I'll have more to say on it when I respond to your second post. But let me try and address the above. You likened a bishop's relationship with his diocese to a marriage. When adultery occurs in a marriage, trust is broken and the marriage relationship is damaged... generally irreparably. Furthermore, your view of what Bp Demetri did was analogous to spiritual adultery and therefore his position as bishop was compromised.

I understand what you're saying and frankly... there's a part of me that finds sympathy with that view. NP... I've been through this analogy first-hand. My ex-wife committed such an act. The trust that I felt for her was shaken... but not broken. I forgave her and in fact begged her to seek counseling with me. I did not see adultery as an insurmountable hurdle whereas I recognize that some men do. Perhaps that revelation might help to put some meat to my argument in that it at least provides you with a bit more understanding of this person named Douglas and how he comes to form his opinions. btw... God was very gracious and over a period of years provided me with a lovely Orthodox wife. Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory forever!

As for why I think he should be restored... I suppose it has to do with my view that he was raised to this position in the first place because of his qualifications and I don't see what he did as destroying those unique abilities. I will admit... it does present a problem that may in fact be insurmountable, particularly with some women who may find it impossible to forgive the man and to regain a trust in him. When Rosehip first raised this issue, it gave me pause to consider her views and those of other females.

In my view... what he did was really not that unforgivable. He was decidedly drunk and his guard was down. Therefore, he probably acted upon his impulses rather than held them in check. As I mentioned earlier... if we could look into the heart of most men (most priests... most bishops) we would probably discover that they lust and perhaps even periodically commit fornication (in the mind... for to look on a woman with lust is to have committed the act itself. The difference is... we have no knowledge of what they are doing in their minds since they're able to keep that private. What are we to do? We undoubtedly have deacons, priests and bishops who have done such and were we to know this for a fact, our trust with them would be weakened.

NP... it seems to me that this entire episode is beyond my ability to judge rightly. Besides, I have no right nor authority to judge anyone other than myself. And I know that I am a sinner.

The story of Mark comes to mind. Paul and Barnabas have this disagreement over Mark since he had fallen from Paul's good graces (and perhaps trust) by caving in during their missionary trip (forgotten which one now). Barnabas was able to find it within himself to forgive the man and to continue to utilize his talents for the Lord.

So... considering Rosehip and Tamara's posts (and I am trying to do this)... perhaps it would be best to find a different placement for Bp Demetri... one that would make use of his talents but not scandalize the flock. I don't know.
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« Reply #219 on: May 16, 2009, 06:39:08 PM »

Douglas, I wanted to add, after giving this much though, not only do I apologize, but I humbly beg your forgiveness in this matter. I didn't mean to offend, and I fear I've caused you, and probably others grief in this issue. i should not have interjected into the thread to begin with due to some personal issues in my life, and the fact that trust of clergy really hits home for me personally, (not that that's an excuse for my poor behavior), and I in all sincerity beg your forgiveness in this matter. I've been quick to judge, and I should know better.

In Christ, NP



NP... I prostrate before you (cyber prostration) and ask your forgiveness in return. And thank you so much for extending this gracious apology to me... a sinner. May the Lord forgive us both.

Your brother in Christ,

Douglas
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« Reply #220 on: May 16, 2009, 07:58:47 PM »

Douglas,

While I agree with Rosehip's assessment, I think you should also know I wish no ill will toward Bishop Demetri. I thought having him retire was a merciful thing to do and that it would give him the opportunity to find the healing he needs. He suffers from another problem beside the one he was convicted for and placing him in a position of authority again is really not doing what is best for someone who suffers from this other difficulty. How loving is it to place a person in a position of authority, which entails much stress, help a person to heal from a significant type of illness?
It is a very irresponsible and I believe unloving thing to do. I say, let the man spend time in retirement so he can find peace. Don't burden a weakened soul with more than he can handle.
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« Reply #221 on: May 16, 2009, 08:22:01 PM »

I think he should be left alone...he will be monitored.
I still want to know why Metropolitan Phillip would even consider this..it will look so bad to the faithful and other peole if he is given a position of trust...can you imagine how this would play in the media?
I still want to know why Met.Phillip is doing this..why now? especially in light over the concern about the auxillary Bishop foolishness
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« Reply #222 on: May 16, 2009, 08:54:40 PM »

Douglas,

While I agree with Rosehip's assessment, I think you should also know I wish no ill will toward Bishop Demetri. I thought having him retire was a merciful thing to do and that it would give him the opportunity to find the healing he needs. He suffers from another problem beside the one he was convicted for and placing him in a position of authority again is really not doing what is best for someone who suffers from this other difficulty. How loving is it to place a person in a position of authority, which entails much stress, help a person to heal from a significant type of illness?
It is a very irresponsible and I believe unloving thing to do. I say, let the man spend time in retirement so he can find peace. Don't burden a weakened soul with more than he can handle.


You bring a perspective to the discussion (as a woman) that is different from my own. I appreciate your desire to have Bp Demetri heal and that perhaps it is best to have him do so where the surroundings are less stressful... less tempting as it were. This is a good observation.
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« Reply #223 on: May 16, 2009, 10:40:03 PM »

Douglas,

While I agree with Rosehip's assessment, I think you should also know I wish no ill will toward Bishop Demetri. I thought having him retire was a merciful thing to do and that it would give him the opportunity to find the healing he needs. He suffers from another problem beside the one he was convicted for and placing him in a position of authority again is really not doing what is best for someone who suffers from this other difficulty. How loving is it to place a person in a position of authority, which entails much stress, help a person to heal from a significant type of illness?
It is a very irresponsible and I believe unloving thing to do. I say, let the man spend time in retirement so he can find peace. Don't burden a weakened soul with more than he can handle.


You bring a perspective to the discussion (as a woman) that is different from my own. I appreciate your desire to have Bp Demetri heal and that perhaps it is best to have him do so where the surroundings are less stressful... less tempting as it were. This is a good observation.

Douglas, while it has been the female posters to this thread which have rightly and properly expressed their views which have now tempered your own, may I assure you that such views are not solely held by women. Most right-thinking men would feel exactly the same, viz. the comments made by male posters along the lines of "what if it were your sister/daughter/wife who was at the receiving end?"

This is not being judgemental, but, as others, male and female, have stated, our clergy have long been required to be held to a higher account than us mere pleb laymen. Scripture and Holy Tradition proclaims it to be so, and the Church has long provided for the consequences of clerical and episcopal error, such matters are nothing new in the life of the Church. Let the hierarchy (which, after all, is obliged to take into account the wishes of the laity), with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sort out this sad and unfortunate case .
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« Reply #224 on: May 17, 2009, 12:48:28 AM »

Douglas,

While I agree with Rosehip's assessment, I think you should also know I wish no ill will toward Bishop Demetri. I thought having him retire was a merciful thing to do and that it would give him the opportunity to find the healing he needs. He suffers from another problem beside the one he was convicted for and placing him in a position of authority again is really not doing what is best for someone who suffers from this other difficulty. How loving is it to place a person in a position of authority, which entails much stress, help a person to heal from a significant type of illness?
It is a very irresponsible and I believe unloving thing to do. I say, let the man spend time in retirement so he can find peace. Don't burden a weakened soul with more than he can handle.


You bring a perspective to the discussion (as a woman) that is different from my own. I appreciate your desire to have Bp Demetri heal and that perhaps it is best to have him do so where the surroundings are less stressful... less tempting as it were. This is a good observation.

Forgive me if I offend; and forgive my poor word skills/rambling  and way of expression, but if only a glimmer of my point makes it through.... and writing is difficult for me, (I have neurological problems affecting speech and memory) the labor, was not in vain.


But I am afraid we all offend, and I greater for not resisting speaking in a place I am not sure will serve the Gospel.
We all offend each other, and in turn  give offense to Christ; and we do harm to the Gospel with every word we speak or write in
publicly publishing the faults of a brother in Christ...

But aside from our own sin, evil and dark is the day when we feel obliged, even required to to do for the sake of the Gospel.

And make no mistake...THE GOSPEL IS ALL THAT MATTERS HERE, not Bishop Demetri's future, not even his repentance and salvation, not Canons and tradition, not legacies of Bishops who have spent their last drop for the "good of the Church" and for all we know have led a spotless and blameless life, certainly not the course of "American Orthodoxy", or conforming to the laws and mores of whatever corner of land or culture that just happens to surround the field where the seeds of the Gospel are bringing God's Kingdom to this earth;

...The only lasting value of these transitory things that fade like the grass is  are they making the Light of Christ shine brighter...or, Lord have Mercy, allowing the shadow of that defeated darkness reclaim what the Light had illumined, through the work of generations of Saints who watch what we do with the harvest they have left to us....we will all answer for that.

Rosehip, many women (and some  men) IMHO, have taken up the mantle of the prophets; Shame on those that make them do it in apologetic tones...It is not a" woman thing"  to  speak out and call the Church back to the example of Christ...His Humility, Meekness, Vulnerability...those paradoxical qualities that caused the incarnation to defeat the power of Death and and gave us the Way to Salvation-not only our own, but the Salvation of the world.


(Men, too have expressed this too...one motivated by a Love of  Justice/Mercy which is a different facet of the same humility-the one that is willing to risk loss of place, position, livelihood (that includes those in the Orthodox/Antiochian priesthood, and hierarchy willing speak Truth to Power,...qualities required of any who seek to "Walk with God").


I know Bishop Demetri's actions seem mild in today's culture/ and the consequences out of proportion....
especially European, where they are not so PC and don't get as riled up about the this embarrassing, but seemingly harmless incident.
but only if you view his actions through the world and not God's eyes.

The seriousness of his sin cannot be measured by world or culture...and it matters little if his misconduct was not violent, due to his drinking, or was an isolated incident.

It is what lies at the core of his actions couldn't have been more anti-Gospel... he treated not just a woman, or another human being with disrespect....but he sinned against his own body, a member of his body (it doesn't matter if she was Orthodox, or even Christian (we are all created in God's Image), which like him is the Image of the One True God...
while I know we don't rank sins....the core of every act of sin is the self centered pride that would thoughtlessly trample and crush the humanity of one another.... Christ didn't rank sin either...a thought, or a thoughtless, maybe even harmless act were as serious as the most bloodiest violation.
And even Paul speaks about the sin against the body...your own or another, affects us in ways that we cannot fathom...

Bishop Demetri didn't commit a harmless faux paux...what he did goes right to the heart  of the most powerful iconic relationship that reveals the deepest mystery of the Church...the male/female relationship/ the icon of man and woman as one/ the icon of the bride and bridegroom, that is the icon of our telos with Christ  and his action was a desecration of that Icon and a desecration of a temple of the body of Christ.

Overreacting?
That is for you to decide, but when a Bishop in any way causes even one or the weaker, maybe more fearful of his flock (obedience is like learning to die...I am afraid the Bishop's action's may make some who have been wounded, trampled and still learning their value to God to doubt or become unable to surrender all to Christ) and still learning to trust  to stumble in what is the way of Salvation...when our biggest struggle is to lay down our lives, to struggle to follow Christ's path of humility, weakness, the vulnerability...and this goes not only for women, but ANY, even those who appear strong and self sufficient, to do harm to the struggle to learn humility, obedience, and opening and risking yourself body heart and soul, all the things that make for peace, reconciliation and Love, in the body of Christ..to our Salvation and through our Salvation, the Salvation of others.

This Bishop's actions could do nothing but harden the heart, instill fear, shrink the heart, and stifle the obedience on which our very Salvation depends.


Again forgive my rambling, and I single out no one in expressing my thoughts....I WOULD SEE CHRIST;THAT IS ALL I DESIRE...PLEASE....I AM WEAK AND I AM AFRAID AND STRUGGLE...WITH TRUST, OBEDIENCE, AND BELIEVING THAT I AM WORTH ANYTHING TO GOD...I STRUGGLE NOT TO JUDGE, BUT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS AND IT WAS LIKE HAVING CHRIST RIPPED RIGHT OUT OF MY HEART....AND I HAVE NO REASON TO ASK FOR MORE MERCY THAN THE BISHOP ASKS, BUT I AM ASKING.

kaarina
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