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Why are the bishops silent?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by rusmeister, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    Why are the bishops silent when wolves in sheep clothing occupy positions of authority in the Orthodox Church teach openly in contradiction to Holy Tradition? (That ranges from a well-known English metropolitan to priests in the US and Europe openly promoting things like sodomic relations.)

    What motivates the bishops to destructive silence? Why does business go on as usual, all smiling and nodding their heads, when those under them teach the devil’s gospel?

    This is stuff that requires major faith just to stay in the Church. If the bishops fall away and no longer teach what the fathers taught, then where can we turn? What can we do?

    I’m not trying to push a definite solution. I only know that it is intolerable.
     
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  2. Jude1:3Contendforthefaith

    Jude1:3Contendforthefaith I'm Currently An Eastern Orthodox Catechumen Supporter

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    “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    • St. John Chrysostom , Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12
     
  3. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    I think three factors come into play.

    1) The lack of eligable replacements. Orthodox number anywhere from 1.5-2million Christians in the US. Everytime a new bishop needs to be elected, at least within the OCA, it takes a long time just to find elegible candidates. Other jurisdictions, like the Greeks, have the luxury of simply moving someone from the Old World to here. As a whole we simply don't have as large a pool of people to replace "bad" bishops with. In my opinion, perhaps some of that could be alleviated by being administratively united into one jurisdiciton. Instead of having five "Bishops of Pittsburgh" and seven "Bishops of New York" perhaps having more bishops covering smaller areas would help establish a bit of a check and balance system amongst the bishops. The OCA has two bishops west of the Rocky Mountains; one for the whole state of Alaska and one for the remaining states including Hawaii. If we had one jurisdiction perhaps we could have three or four cover that area and they would not be so isolated.


    2) The strong sense of clericalism that continues to plague all American Churches. The laity, as a whole because there are exceptions, don't always have the sense to call the clergy out when they are wrong. A large part of the sex abuse scandals within the Roman Catholic Church happened because of clericalism; "Fr John is always right" sort of mentality happens too much within American Orthodoxy as well.


    3) Complacency.
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    I think as well we put too much stock in academic Orthodoxy. we value speculation and trying to find something new, rather than simply maintaining the faith given.
     
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  5. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    That’s certainly not the case with me, Fr Matt. I see the local effects on the ground, in my own parish, even family members, ranging from ecumenism to divorce as an acceptable normal act to acceptance of same-sex relations in the Church, and so on. I’ve been really shaken by the cool reception of the book I had translated among a great many people that I know personally, and an attitude that basically condemns the idea of calling the faithful to be faithful in their marriages when it is hard. I see a direct correlation between the silence of bishops - and priests - and the growth of the attitudes of the world among us. From where I stand, the tendency is gradual, not a sudden leap, so that a respected priest (and yes, I do have specific people in mind) might cite modern psychological studies to justify various cases of divorce, or other falling away from what we are called to, without ever once citing the fathers. It starts with mild suggestions to tolerate small degrees of it, and gradually intensifies.
     
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  6. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yeah....and it's sneaking its way into the Church because we have a wrong understanding of what a theologian is. Elder Joseph the hesychast is a theologian. David Bentley Hart is not. far too many people take DBH seriously simply because he is an academic.
     
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  7. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Just observing, since I don't have experience of or answers about this. Only questions that come up.

    Are you speaking mainly of the Church in Russia? If so, that is rather disheartening, but I don't really know what's going on with the Church in Russia over the last century with the political situations.

    I do hear things about Orthodoxy in other places - I know of a few people saying things they shouldn't be. I guess I'm pretty insulated in my parish. It's difficult to connect my experience of Orthodoxy to what seems to be going in in the speech of a few bishops and what seems like mad ravings in venues like a few blogs and Facebook on the fringes.

    On the one hand I thank God I'm not experiencing it, and I hope that means millions others don't either.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that if it IS happening, someone needs to address it. So I'm certainly not advocating a head-in-the-sand approach.
     
  8. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Just a minor point but maybe you've answered why I can't really seem to understand about "clericalism". I wonder if it's because our parish is largely immigrant, and it's an American phenomenon?

    Our current priest is much-loved and respected. That doesn't keep people from speaking out on issues they have with him, but it tends to be minor things like so-and-so not getting a visit when they were in the hospital and I know that Father will happily visit repeatedly and sit with people - but he wants to be sure they want the visit. (Apparently some people get agitated about being visited by a priest in the hospital because they are afraid they are closer to dying than anyone is letting them know.) Or thinking he should be more involved administratively in something that is really up to the parish council, where Father is adamant about providing spiritual guidance but not micro-managing everything.

    But where there has been problems with other priests of things that really were a problem (and nowhere NEAR the scale of the scandal in Catholicism) ... people don't seem averse to calling it out. It's not something that comes up often so it's taken me years to understand that. But priests certainly are not "automatically always right".
     
  9. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    Perhaps not everything one complains about is a crisis and there is some legitimate diversity in Orthodox thought.
     
  10. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's probably a sidebar issue but the overlap in some areas and absence in others really should be addressed at some point.
    Speaking only as a member of laity; I wouldn't mind if cities with several Bishops were condensed to one so that the vacant areas could be covered. Even if that means a Greek Bishop ends up moving to OCA or Antiochian (vice-versa or other). If we are in communion, that shouldn't matter.
    imho but I can and am willing to be schooled.
     
  11. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    Well, the Church in Russia has all types. It’s a big and multifarious thing, but my own parish probably has a slightly higher than average percentage.

    I think as long as we hold to the idea that I, each one of us, are wrong if we contradict the consensus of the fathers (or are wrong if we deny that there is any such thing), we can’t go wholly wrong. If there is any central illness of thought (the “H” word), it is in the idea that we know better than the fathers because we have modern educations and iPhones.

    I’m personally trying to address, above all, the issue of divorce (See the recent thread in St Justin’s, for instance). That was the first big attack on the sanctity of the family and the marital act in the modern era, and the one that made the others thinkable. I’m totally open to correction from our Tradition, but have had no challenges from that quarter, only from modern thinking and pop-psychology. But there are a LOT of Orthodox, both priests and laity, seeking to defend divorce on such grounds, and I have encountered quite a few directly.
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    not when it comes to sexuality, anthropology, or certain aspects of eschatology.
     
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  13. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I did not participate in that thread. However, I did (just now) go and read your last remark and agree wholeheartedly.
     
  14. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    That's a stronger statement than is true - attach "certain aspects" to all three, though, and it works.
     
  15. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    please, any evidence that there is any wiggle room when it comes to sexuality.
     
  16. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    The whole conception of diversity is only valid insofar as the different parts of the body are a complete whole that work together. Any “diversity” that opposes and denies another part of the body, and claims to be an alternative nose or throat, is not legitimate diversity, but merely divisive, like a saw is divisive in cutting a body apart, like scissors are related to the idea of schism. The schismatic offers illegitimate divisiveness under the cover of the word “diversity”. The schismatic does not wish to know the Truth that is not his (but rather that made him), but instead wishes to impose his own personal claim to truth at variance with what has always been taught in the Church. The schismatic may be well-intentioned, but is himself deceived. To avoid deception, we must be ready to lay down our own conceptions and accept what has always been taught. That is the only way to avoid one of the most common events in the Christian world - schism. I, as an individual, am wrong. We, together with the fathers, can be right, and that need not entail any pride. Without the fathers, we are just lost individuals, the blind leading the blind.
     
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  17. archer75

    archer75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Perhaps the now-unused rite of adelphopoiesis might be an example in that it is a blessing given by the Church to people of the same sex who wished to commit themselves to each other especially deeply. Persons who are primarily attracted to persons of the same sex, and inclined to form close interpersonal bonds with them, might benefit from having such a rite authorized again. After all, giving yourself into the keeping of another person and seeking a blessing for it is forbidden nowhere in Scripture or Tradition.

    That might be considered wiggle room from the perspective of modern practice, though not from actual Tradition.

    Please note that this post does not say anything about, nor do I mean anything about, a blessing for same-sex sexual activity.
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    sure, but that's not wiggle room on our views of sexuality (which I know you said in your note). practice is fine for some wiggle room, depending on why.
     
  19. archer75

    archer75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fair. My point was only that it might look like wiggle room from the POV of familiar modern practice, and familiar practice is always narrower than what is possible within or consistent with Tradition.
     
  20. Jude1:3Contendforthefaith

    Jude1:3Contendforthefaith I'm Currently An Eastern Orthodox Catechumen Supporter

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    We have to remember that there were actual Heretical Arian Bishops in The Ancient Church and they were defeated. The Lord always preserves His Church.

    There are also a lot of subversive masons, government agents and Jesuits pretending to be Orthodox Christians and they are usually the ones that bring in the heresies, schisms and perversions because they have hidden agendas, ulterior motives and secret allegiances to these other groups and institutions instead of The Church and The Lord Jesus Christ.

    Russia had to put up with Communistic Government Agents when they had the underground Catacomb Churches :


     
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