Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!
I beg you, for the love of our God and his teachings, for the sake of our immortal souls and the quelching of our passions to gossip, bicker, and idly talk, *please stop*!
There is absolutely nothing spiritually edifying coming out of this thread. If we take controversy and judge and gossip about it, we are no better than those secular persons who take controversies over rock stars and actors and judge and gossip about it. I humbly suggest to ALL here to think of how being anonymous on a computer makes us sin, and not feel like we are sinning...so much of what we say on forums to each other and about others are that which we would not say in person to someone.
I am so saddened, as an Orthodox Christian when I hear of scandal in our precious, holy Church--our hospital of souls! If I were to judge my church from what I see here, I would feel in despair and feel that there is no place for solace from our world of tears and pain!
Whether a scandal involves 'sexual indescretions' of a priest, the 'financial scandal' of a monastery, or 'canonical disobedience' of a monk or nun, it is a sorrowful thing --because it shows how easily we all fall into sin, it shows how easily we can become the object of disdain, it shows how easily we can fall from 'favor', it shows how easily we can be judged and or slandered.
Just as the wise person says when he/she hears of the divorce of dear friends or relatives, that one cannot judge, because one is not living with them daily and does not know the intricacies of their relationship, and that it takes 'two to tango', we should be even wiser when it comes to something which can scandalize our faithful..and that doesn't only mean the topic at hand, but also the lack of compassion and PRAYER which we show to those who are in the scandal and to EACH other.
As a cradle Orthodox Christian, I have heard enough scandal (whether true or not true) in every jurisdiction, in every country, in every church, in many priests, in many bishops, etc... to have driven me away from not only the Church, but from even believing in God! So when I hear internet 'whisperings' about a Patriarch with an expensive watch, or a Bishop who drives a Mercedes, etc., or about the good life a certain priest lives, etc., I simply tune out the inevitable sinful 'logismoi' which I am trying so hard with confessions to lessen, the 'logismoi' (thoughts) of judging and entertaining the scandal, and I remind myself that there is no one standard for all, and that gifts are one's perogative to accept, money is one's perogative to spend how he or she likes, etc., etc., etc., (these are only two recent examples of gossip I have come across), and that I would not like to be 'whispered' about on every little thing I do, I wear, I like, I spend, etc...in other words, our Lord gave us the perfect statement to deal with all our judgementalisms: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
WOW!! Nothing could be wiser or more perfect, and we often forget this most blessed of all teachings and justify forgetting it by egotistical self righteousness. It is the GOLDEN RULE--truly and totally!
Personally, I have seen this thread do nothing but state over and over and over, ad nauseum, the same differing and opposing opinions...and when that got tired, people start attacking, misreading, misjudging, getting defensive, getting offensive, and talking past each other.
I am so saddened--how would someone seeking the peace and love of the true Church and Hospital of our Lord feel if he or she read this thread? I doubt very much that they would think we were it!! I doubt they would feel consolation and peace, and spiritual edification. We are all the icons of Christ, whether we can see each other or not; it is how we TREAT each other (and our priests-- married or not married-- our monks and nuns, our bishops, our fellow parishioners) that will reflect the Christ in us! I have seen too many priests suffer because of judgemental parishioners, and when they suffer, their families and spouses also suffer. No one knows WHO in the Church will be the next one that the evil one turns his ugly claws (through our sinful hearts and souls) into to destroy. It could be Priest X (happy today) or Monk Y (prayerfully following his monastic rule)--Let us pray for each other, because no one knows who will be next, and no one knows who will have to answer to God for having been a tool of the evil one in destroying another individual. Kyrie Eleison!
May God bless us all with His peace.
I humbly ask the forgiveness of all here if I have offended anyone, because it is not my intention at all, and I am a great sinner and unworthy before you...these were just some thoughts I had.
I bow to the holy image of Christ in each and every one of you...and bid you adieu my beloved fellow Orthodox Christians.
With love in our Lord,