The full import of what happened recently to Kristine Patico Koumentakos in Maryland has finally sunk in. It is so blasphemous that it is horrifying. Fr Raymond Velencia of the OCA publicised intimate details of a woman’s life that he heard in confession and counselling. Fr Alexey Karlgut of the Syosset apparat said the following to the victim, “As to allegations of violation of ‘pastoral confidentiality’ it should be stated that in the teaching, Doctrine, and Canonical rules, regulations, and tribunal for internal discipline and government of the Orthodox Church no such concept exists”. Velencia was a “goals-oriented priest”, according to Karlgut, and he’s still the rector of St Matthew parish in Maryland. Herman Swaiko is the diocesan ordinary responsible in this situation. Did he remove Rev Velencia for breaking the inviolability of the confessional? Did he discipline Rev Karlgut for supporting him?
He used Karlgut in an attempt to force the victim to sign a waiver stating that she wouldn’t sue the Church over a legitimate grievance where the priest involved overstepped his authority. As bad as that is, it isn’t the open scandal of Herman supporting a priest who contemptuously broke the seal of the confessional. This is the sin against the Holy Spirit naked and unashamed. I know what the late Archbishop Kyprian would’ve done. He would’ve jumped in his car and talked to a friendly judge in Maryland. Vladyki Kyprian and the Maryland state troopers would’ve come up to Velencia’s door. Vladyki would’ve kicked the door in, and a royal rumble between Vladyki and Velencia would’ve ensued. The Maryland state troopers would be there only to do the light work and pick up the pieces after Vladyki was finished. Velencia would’ve been dog-meat, and rightly so. In my time, I have heard of only four instances where a priest violated the confessional, including this one. In three cases, the bishop responsible swooped in like an avenging angel and planted his size-12 firmly into the backside of the priest involved. The priests in these cases were defrocked so quickly that it seemed instantaneous. In this case, Herman Swaiko SUPPORTS the priest involved. This is clear prima facie evidence, even for the obtuse, that the OCA central apparat is EVIL.
Tsar Ivan Grozny After Killing His Son on 15 November 1581
This is what Herman Swaiko’s done to Christ’s Church. He supports a priest who broke the seal of the confessional.
A PRIEST VIOLATED THE SANCTITY OF THE CONFESSIONAL AND ABUSED ONE OF HIS PARISHIONERS.
I shall NOT be silent. I shall NOT be quiet. There’s NO possible justification or explanation for the public airing of private confidences told to a priest in confession and counselling. I believe that this is grounds for a legal suit. I stand under correction in this, but I think that attorneys, physicians, and clergy are responsible before the law if they break such confidence. It’s a violation of secular law as well as being an offence in the Church sense. I stand mute in the face of such EVIL. It’s beyond words. Herman Swaiko has the responsibility to remove Velencia from the clergy as expeditiously as possible, and to issue an apology to the entire Church for his laggardliness in so doing. If he doesn’t act, it shows his true character. I know of no bishop who’s ever shirked his duty in such a circumstance. This is the only time that I’ve heard of a bishop, either now or in the distant past, supporting a priest who broke the seal of confidentiality that all clergy enjoy. If anyone supports Herman Swaiko or Raymond Velencia in this, you share their guilt in their sin against the Holy Spirit. What’ll it take for this crucifixion to end? If the OCA Holy Synod refuses to act, shall one of the other local Churches step in to restore a proper Orthodox order? I’d say to His Holiness Aleksei, “It’s time to act. The inviolability of the confessional has been raped”. Is there anyone listening, dear God?
Thursday 8 May 2008
There’s been quite a bit of discussion of this case on Stokoe’s website. Let’s keep this simple. A priest violated the confidentiality of the confessional. Full stop. His bishop didn’t remove him. Full stop. Two priests, Alexey Karlgut and George Washburn (in his posts on the Stokoe site), appear to justify this abuse by their public statements. Full stop. In a well-run church, the Holy Synod would depose Metropolitan Herman Swaiko without delay, and they’d immediately defrock Raymond Velencia, Alexey Karlgut, and George Washburn. In Washburn’s case, it can be explained by the fact that he lacks a proper Orthodox formation as a priest. The other two have no such defence. A priest violated the confidentiality of the confessional and of counselling. Why, the old Okhrana wasn’t as invasive! Mr Washburn, what’s so difficult in that to grasp? Your lawyerly parsing is offensive and noisome. Withdraw it immediately, or stand accused of complicity in this. I’d like to hear from the last solid hierarch in the OCA, Vladyki Job of Chicago. Speak, sir, and don’t let Herman’s bullying stop you! This is truly too much of a muchness. When I think of what I saw at St Nick’s last Saturday and compare it with this rubbish, I weep. Either condemn this monstrous act or stand complicit with it. It’s that simple.