GR US

Analysis: Who is Going to Tell Them to Leave?

The National Herald

2016 CLERGY LAITY CONGRESS, CLERGY SYNDESMOS. (Photo by GOA)

The ineffectiveness of many priests is creating serious problems for the parishes because the it has led in many instances to divisions and the ultimate victim is the parish. After, all even a few problematic priests are enough to traduce the holy and honorable name of the Church and our Greek-American Community.

Unquestionably our Church in America has been blessed to have many worthy and able priests, but there are also many who shouldn’t have been ordained in the first place.

The question is. however, what should be done about that problematic group? I think the statutory administration of the Church should tell them enough is enough and from now on you can’t continue to be priests.

Is it fair that parishes, including cathedrals, which just a few years ago were alive and vibrant are disintegrating simply because their priests’ shouldn’t have been ordained or should have been removed from the priesthood years ago?

I am of the opinion that the best solution is prevention, and that the ancient wisdom “better to prevent than to heal” should apply. This should begin at our Theological School, with a first step a detailed and thorough selection process for those who admitted. In other words, it is unacceptable to admit all those who seek enrolment just because the School wants to show an increased number of students.

Let me say one more time that the problems in the parishes start at the Theological School, which is in great need of a total cleansing in all of its areas: administration, faculty, admissions. The School should seek the best from our Greek-American Community. The candidates should be young men with good upbringing, ethos, faith, and Hellenic ideals. Yes, with Hellenism. The syndrome of de-hellenization should disappear from the School and from the Church as a matter of fact, because after all Hellenism constitutes the uniqueness of our identity and self-consciousness.

Nobody should forget that many of our parishes, in which the priests and the hierarchs liturgize and officiate on the thrones with such ”theatricality” were created and built by our early and pioneer Greek immigrants with great effort and many sacrifices.

One more thing. It is imperative that the unacceptable mentality of ‘careerism’ (του επαγγελματισμού) – with all that bargaining over salaries, benefits, residences, cars, expense accounts – should be abolished. Understandably, they have life expenses and family obligations as all people do, but in their case, a spirit of moderation and sacrifice should prevail.

Many parishes cannot afford the exorbitant expenses of which two are the biggest: the salary and benefits of the priest and the annual financial contribution to The Archdiocese. The Coronavirus crisis demands sharp reductions in both of them. The holy priesthood is not and cannot be a career, but a sacrificial offering in love and faith.

One more thing: The priest-monks and the Archimandrites shouldn’t serve in parishes but they should go to the monasteries because this is where they belong. Archimandritism unfortunately has developed into a ‘gangrene’ on the Body of the Church in general.