The OCA LOVES “confidential settlements”… “We admit no crime or wrongdoing”. It’s time that we held clerics to the same standard that we hold everyone else to (which includes public judgement of criminal matters). In any case, hasn’t Storheim injured the Church’s credibility enough? It’s time to ‘fess up and get down… but will we?
I got this from a Cabinet member a while back… it still has relevance. We have a lot of labour ahead of us… I have a word or two after this.
I just can’t wrap my head around why the [OCA] Chancellor posts the Pastoral Changes with a three-month delay. Okay, so maybe the dioceses don’t send in their reports sharp at the end of the month, so it takes, say, a couple or three weeks to extort the data from overworked diocesan chancellors with families, parish assignments of their own, etc. Can’t they have the thing done and posted by the end of the following month, then? Does it really warrant a quarterly posting schedule? Also, note that they’re not posted in a single place on the OCA website; you literally have to search for the press releases and dig them out one by one. It’s maddening.
Speaking of the Pastoral Changes, it hit me that I’d missed the ones for August and September, so I went and looked them up. Guess what I found? Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel assigned to St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas TX effective 1 September 2013! I knew (and I think you reported earlier) that he’d gone to a parish in the Diocese of the South, but being assigned to the Cathedral there is whole ‘nother story! So, is this how they’re trying to foist him upon the South? Remember, Fr Gerasim didn’t drop out of GTU. No, he dropped out of college at UC Santa Cruz and ended up going off to Platina in 1981. Download a copy of his excruciatingly detailed episcopal search autobiography, which is good for these points here. By the way, Fr David Brum didn’t attend GTU either… he attended St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park CA for his M.Div. and the Catholic University of America in DC for his JCL (a licentiate in Canon Law). Here’s his bio for the details.
Now, speaking of Canon Law, I should add a few words on the Storheim saga. Firstly, in canonical terms, a man is either a cleric or not. When we depose a cleric, we don’t demote him to a lower order, but remove him from the ranks of the clergy altogether. Therefore, we can’t “roll back” Storheim to be a simple priest… we’ve ordained him a Bishop, and he must either remain a Bishop or no longer be a clergyman at all. It’s correct that according to the canonical tradition, we can’t punish someone for one crime twice. What this means is that, if we deposed him for the abuse of minors, then, we couldn’t excommunicated him for that same crime. That would be the double punishment.
Now, presumably, Storheim received monastic tonsure before being ordained a Bishop, so, even if we depose him from the clergy, he’d still be a monk under obedience to whomever his Bishop is unless he asks for a release from that state of life as well. If we depose him, his Bishop (after consulting with the Synod) CAN and SHOULD send him off to a monastery somewhere far away to live out the rest of his days. He seems to like Finland; they should see if somewhere over there would take him.
As for the deposition, note that the canons require a court of twelve Bishops to depose another Bishop. Even with the newly filled vacancies in Alaska and Eastern PA, the OCA is up only to 10 (it’s still down three, with vacancies in the Midwest, the South, and for all practical purposes, Canada). Now, one thing the Synod can do (there’s historical precedent) is to ask another Local Church to provide the missing number of Bishops… which realistically means Moscow in this case. I don’t know if they’ve asked them, but even Moscow might have its reasons not to soil its hands with the OCA’s dirty work, at least not immediately. We’ll just have to see what transpires in the immediate future… I can’t imagine that session of the Holy Synod that considered SMPAC and ORSMA policies and “reviewed a variety of clergy matters, including disciplines” ended without discussing the Storheim débâcle. Anyway, it’s important that the canonical process of deposition is impeccable. This is the first time that the OCA would set out to depose a Bishop, and we should give no excuse to Storheim’s supporters to argue that the deposition wasn’t valid. You remember how JP’s supporters argued that his own resignation was invalid? Imagine some employing the same tactic here, and with a far more unnerving goal.
Regarding Metropolitan Philip Saliba, your correspondent was right. He released clergy to and received them from the ROCOR normally even when they weren’t in communion with anyone else but the Serbs, and he had a beautiful wall icon of St Xenia of Petersburg painted at the Ss Peter and Paul Chapel in Antiochian Village even before Moscow canonised her because the ROCOR had already done it. There’s certainly a debt of gratitude there!
As for tardy reports of pastoral changes, that’d be easy to fix. Each diocese would report weekly via a standardised computer form. If no changes, they’d simply check the “no changes” box. It’d take five minutes at best. Modern computer technology allows understaffed institutions to be just as efficient as the MP is… and we should use it! If a chancellor of a diocese refused to use it, well, it’d be time to replace the chancellor. “Use modern means or go home”… we don’t use quill pens anymore… ‘nuff said, end of story…
If Eliel is a dropout, we shouldn’t have him on any list for bishop… full stop. That’s the end of the story. David Brum is the author of the notorious (and anti-canonical and anti-Traditional) “Brum Doctrine”… that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a tin-pot dictator who can override the Holy Synod. Of course, that ain’t Orthodox, but what do you expect from someone who lacks a real Orthodox formation? He DOES have a full-bore papist formation. Of course, he doesn’t (and can’t) teach according to Orthodox formulations! Note well, the konvertsy drool over both paladins. The Centre wouldn’t consecrate either one of these champions as bishops… neither should we.
To put it simply, Storheim’s put the Church through enough grief. It’s time to depose him and pack him off to the Mountain, where he can’t bother any more kids. I’d bet even money that the Canadian courts would sign off on that one. It gets rid of a headache for all concerned, it acknowledges Storheim’s guilt, and it means that the Church accepts and respects Mr Justice Mainella’s assessment of Mr Storheim… that he lacks any shred of credibility. Besides, the Church should apologise publicly to Storheim’s victims… not only for the abuse, but also for the unfounded attacks on their credibility by Mr Gindin, Storheim’s legal mouthpiece. Yes, it means that the OCA will have to pony up for the damages caused… but that’s fair. In fact, it’s a licit use for the “widow’s mite”… whereas to use it to savage the victims in court was not.
My Cabinet not only keeps me informed, they keep me grounded. Note well that most of the konvertsy bloggers are “lone wolves”. In Orthodox terms, that’s really beyond the pale. Keep it centred and focused… the times ARE evil… many who look “good” are crook, and many who look “off” are good. Keep the jug at hand… it hasn’t got any less crank in the last 24…