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The Intermediary Priest


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#1 RomanSee

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:07 PM

I'm not sure how many people have heard about or seen the new documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, but it talks about the Catholic child abuse scandal and subsequent cover ups. 

 

Anyways, they interviewed an abbot who said that the church was teaching a heresy, because they taught that a priest is somewhere between a human and an angel, serving as an intermediary of sorts on behalf of the people. The movie makes the claim that not everyone's psyche can handle this kind of power and it results in abusive situations.

 

I was wondering if the Orthodox Church has any similar type of doctrine? Obviously the church does allow married priests, which helps to prevent a lot of scandals as i'm sure, but what can we say about the potential problem of power? It's very easy to get caught up in the rush of holding the spiritual welfare of countless people in your hands, is it not?

 

Looking forward to your responses,

 

Peace.

 

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

No, this is not a teaching of the Orthodox Church. We are all sinners before God.  The priest is set apart only because he bears the grace of his ordination - and that doesn't make him better or worse, it simply gives him the "tools of the trade".

 

Fr David



#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:23 PM

Over all I don't see it as an "institutional" feature of Orthodoxy as a whole. I have seen some unhealthy situations in a parish or two, bordering on personality cult, but not as serious or widespread as in other Christian churches I do have my own personal horror stories involving more than one Orthodox priest that don't need to be elaborated on here. Peoples is peoples. The priesthood does have a "status" and built-in respect that can attract an individual for the wrong reasons.

 

But on the whole, I do think there are many checks and balances within Orthodoxy that keep such things the exception rather than the norm.



#4 RomanSee

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

Thanks for the input Fr. David, I figured that would be the case.

 

I see where you are coming from Herman. My religious background has led me to many a charismatic leader. They pretty much get to do whatever they want. 

 

I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher last night and Bill actually interviewed the director of the film. He was very honest in stating that the priests who assault children are in the minority, and these cases are not only unique to the nature of the church. (He also mentioned Jerry Sandusky as an example) He said that as a whole the Catholic church does a great deal of good in the world with their various charities etc.

 

But I personally feel it's good to criticize church leaders when they do something contrary to morality. From what I have read the practice of criticizing the church dates back centuries, even to the time of Jesus when he calls the church leaders a brood of vipers (Matthew 12:34). Please correct me if I am interpreting that passage wrong. And I also saw this in the removal of Metropolitan Jonah.

 

Looking forward to further insight.



#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

We are called "sheep" but we are "rational sheep". We do not burden our bishops with infallibility. The Holy Spirit works in many ways in the Church. Sometimes the laity have to remind the bishops what is important. Mistakes have been made and need to be corrected. As a layperson I had to approach my bishop with a problem about my priest (who is no longer a priest). Sometimes bishops do not live up to the responsibility given to them.

 

We do have a responsibility to speak out when we things happening that shouldn't. As a Church we certainly need to do better in keeping track of clergy who run from jurisdiction to jurisdiction when they feel an ecclesiastic court being convened for their shenanigans or who run off and start their own schismatic group. But whatever we do, I hope we do it with much prayer and discernment, in a spirit of building up the Church rather than tearing it down. When emotions run high, actions taken in haste often lead to regret. We do well to maintain good order and discipline in the Church. When we lose that, the work of the Holy Spirit is often impeded rather than assisted. We are often our own worst enemy and merely acknowledging this from time to time seems like a reasonable idea.

 

But yes, if there is wickedness, if there is malfeasance, if there is wrong-doing, we do no favors by merely ignoring it if it harms the brethren and tears down the Church.






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