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Fr. Robert Arida and homosexuality

TheTrisagion

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Probably because of the tempest in the teapot that can be seen in this thread.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Bob2 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
... it's not clear to me from reading his article that Fr Arida is advocating homosexuality, gay marriage, or any of the other things his critics claim he's most certainly advocating.  
I agree that it is not clear. I honestly can't decide whether this lack of clarity was the result of carefulness, or carelessness.
That's fair.  I've already admitted I found parts of Fr Arida's blog post vague or open to interpretation, but it's a blog post, not "An Exact Dogmatic Exposition of the Errors of the Homosexualists and Their Pernicious Influence within the Bosom of our Holy Orthodox Catholic Church".  IMO, his opponents appear to have been looking for that, didn't find it exactly as they wanted it, and are crying out against him as if he's a heretic.  That's not fair.   

If  the  never  changing  Gospel  who  is  Jesus  Christ  is  to  have  a  credible  presence  and  role  in  our  culture  then  the  Church  can  no  longer  ignore  or  condemn  questions  and   issues  that  are  presumed  to  contradict  or  challenge  its  living  Tradition.  Among  the  most   controversial   of   these   issues   are   those   related   to   human   sexuality, the  configuration  of  the  family,  the  beginning  and  ending  of  human  life,  the  economy   and   the   care   and   utilization   of   the   environment   including   the   care,   dignity and  quality  of  all  human  life.  If  the  unchanging  Gospel  is  to  be  offered  to  the  culture  then   the  Church,  in  and  through  the  Holy  Spirit  will  have  to  expand  the  understanding  of   itself  and  the  world  it  is  called  to  save.  
While this statement doesn't explicitly step over the line, it seems to me that it should have been foreseeable that it would illicit raised eyebrows and responses of suspicion that it may really mean: we must conform our antiquated ideas of morality to be relevant in today's culture. The potential for this reaction was either naively missed, or WAS the intended purpose.  It could have been avoided with a small acknowledgement of the official position of the OCA, while still calling for a change in tone and pastoral concern for those who are struggling with passions (as are we all).
Since he doesn't explicitly step over the line, I don't see a reason why other readers necessarily had to conclude that he was advocating a change in traditional morality.  But I suppose I come from a different place.  My home parish is an "ethnic" parish where almost all of the "converts" converted to marry in the Church: basically, a solidly "cradle" community.  And other than my time in seminary, my experience with Orthodox parishes has largely been in such communities, whether or not they were of my language/ethnicity, and I've noticed a tendency toward ignoring important issues across the board (to greater or lesser degrees). 

For instance, in one parish, I listened incredulously as a priest confidently told his age 17-25+ unmarried youth that he knew they weren't having sex outside of marriage, and so they didn't need to worry about condoms or birth control pills, all they had to do was live at home with their parents, obedient to their instructions, and God would bless their lives.  I don't think the priest had any business teaching them about condoms and birth control pills, and in that culture (but also generally) there is nothing wrong with telling unmarried young people to live at home with their parents, but the presumption that none of them were sexually promiscuous because "our children could not possibly be like those immoral American children because we have values" was a nice way of ignoring an issue which I know for a fact most of those young people had to face because they were all in college or grad school or working and most lived in dorms or away from home, had boyfriends or girlfriends, etc.  In another parish, a similarly minded priest led a retreat for his young people and at the end heard their confessions, and came away visibly shocked and disturbed by what he heard because, as he told another priest, "I never imagined they were like that". 

"I know you're good kids, so you're not doing it" or "Don't do it" is only going to be so helpful.  But if you as a cleric conclude it is appropriate to have an extended discussion/teaching on human sexuality from the perspective of Orthodox theology so that young people can contextualise the "Don't do it", many in the parish might accuse you of wanting to talk about sex with young people as if you had some inappropriate intentions.  If/when that gets to the bishop, and he defends the priest, the bishop will also be suspect.  But if the bishop also gangs up on the priest, and the priest stops, the people are not being properly served.  If he doesn't stop, the bishop might discipline him, and then they are definitely not going to be properly served. 

Whether it's homosexual sex, heterosexual sex, marriage-divorce-remarriage, domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse in the home, abortion, or any number of other issues, I've seen clerics at all levels (as well as laypeople) dismiss such "problems" with "rules" in the hope that this will be enough to keep themselves clean, even if it doesn't help and/or actually harms people in need.  "Wives, submit to your husbands" and "Let the wife give her husband what is his due, her body belongs to her husband" doesn't really help a woman whose husband regularly rapes her, it just tells her that God wills for her to be raped because "God hates divorce" (another "rule").  But for a lot of people in the Church, quarantining that stuff in its place--far away from us--with "rules" is easier than actually confronting problems and helping people out of them, even if the solutions aren't always the best.       

To me, this culture of dismissing serious issues by imposing a system of "rules" is common in the Church.  To the extent that Americans, particularly but not exclusively American converts, don't really understand such a culture because, in America, everyone talks about everything, it makes sense to me that this is not the first thing they would think of.  But it is there.  I don't know Fr Arida's background well enough to say whether he is "cradle" or "convert", but if you're a priest for more than a few months and have a basic intelligence, you should pick up on such things soon enough.  It's a real challenge in pastoral ministry, but if the Church is a hospital for sinners, stuff is going to get messy now and then and it has to be that way in order for people to be healed.  Unfortunately, many of us, even within the clergy, would rather have the Church be a country club for the sanctified-enough-for-us. 
     
 

Second Chance

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Opus118 said:
podkarpatska said:
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
But if I read ritically some sentences Fr. Arida wrote, then he is making inferences that go against the church. The Church's position is not a new and alien spirit.
I don't think Fr Arida's critics have made the case for this interpretation of his writing.
I took the "new and alien spirit" to refer to converts who, in his mind, didn't shed all or enough of their Protestant baggage when swimming the Bosporus.
That was my take reading it as well, but I honestly had never heard of him before two weeks ago. (I am not saying I agree with that premise...stereotypes are often misleading.)
That was definitely not my take. My take (hypothetical, but based on past writings) is that he was commenting on the subversion (can't think of the right word currently) of the Church by priests with an overtly political agenda, who elevate themselves, and promote discord as a means to further their personal agenda rather than that of the Church. Some of those priests immediately responded to his post in their typical way. I think the sex thing is a ruse to divert from the message.

Then again his post was so obscure any interpretation can be meshed with it.
My take on vocal and conservative priests, such as Fr. Hans Jacobse (Antiochian) and Fr. John Whiteford (ROCOR), is that they do not have a personal or partisan political agenda. They are simply conservative Orthodox priests, much like almost all of the priests that I have known in my life. Sure, there are some differences between jurisdictions but they do not amount to a hill of beans when it comes to age-old Orthodox stances on ethical and moral issues that affect our society. To focus on the issue at hand, Orthodoxy cannot approve same-sex marriage or commune active and unrepentant sinners, to include homosexuals. That is not at all reactionary, unless one thinks that we are no longer an Apostolic Church. What I disliked in Fr. Arida's essay was mainly what the Houston Statement covered: Orthodoxy does not craft new doctrines like the Roman Catholic church does, we preserve Holy Tradition. Now, pastoral approaches do change but I submit to you that the position of the OCA that I posted earlier does not need to be changed whatsoever. We cannot change our dogmatic positions because they are written in the Scriptures and as such are the most definitive elements of our Holy Tradition. And, when it comes to pastoral approach to homosexuals, what is wrong exactly with, quoting from the OCA document, "Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all human beings"? After participating in this discussion both here and elsewhere, I have come up with the following convictions:

1. Those who jumped at Fr. Arida's essay as a call to change our stance on homosexuality are wrong to do so.

2. However, these folks have reacted not in a vacuum but a particular context: We are in the midst of a cultural war where the Gay Lobby is campaigning hard for society to accept their unions as something that is not and should not be distinguishable from traditional marriage. As someone who has supported equal civil rights for gay couples, I must also say that I find it highly offensive any efforts to condemn foundational Christian beliefs on the sinfulness of homosexual activity and I find it unbearable that folks' First Amendment rights are being eroded. This is partisan politics only because one party is mostly on the side of traditional marriage and the other is not. This is an overarching issue that transcends partisan politics; it is about public policy that is based on  the fundamentals--religion and morality.

3. Another context is the long history of accusations against Fr. Arida and his alleged communing of active, unrepentant homosexuals. While that is something that is between Fr. Arida and his bishop, the reality is that there is lots of smoke on this matter. I would think that someone of Fr. Arida's intelligence and experience would not have published an essay that was bound to irritate some audiences (a) conservative priests who disliked his nebulous call for change, (b) folks who were already questioning his practice and views vis-a-vis homosexuals, and (c) parents of priests of young people who visited the site that published his essay.
 

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DCBmoreOCF said:
I humbly suggest the following: If Fr. Arida's bishop would obtain Fr. Arida's signature on a statement affirming the Church's teaching regarding same sex attraction and sexual relations, then perhaps some of the controversy would go away. Of course if he could not in good conscience sign such a statement, then we would be in a different position.
I humbly suggest that an Orthodox priest in good standing with his bishop should be given the benefit of the doubt that he's not, by default, an immoral heretic promoting all manner of evil under the sun in his writings and preaching.  I think it's unfair that so many have taken it for granted that they know what he really meant even though they don't come out and prove it, and I think it's exceedingly unfair that priests are involved in such activities.  

If people want a controversy, they will have one.  If Abp Nikon got Fr Arida to sign "a statement affirming the Church's teaching regarding same sex attraction and sexual relations", undoubtedly some on both sides would claim he signed it under duress or insincerely and that they know what he really believes.  

I just don't see why priests, who have undergone significant training and vetting, are suddenly guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of a flock that includes many laypeople who haven't been trained or vetted at all and regard themselves as innocent until proven guilty.  IMO, this issue has "church politics" written all over it, not "defending the faith".        
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I just don't see why priests, who have undergone significant training and vetting, are suddenly guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of a flock that includes many laypeople who haven't been trained or vetted at all and regard themselves as innocent until proven guilty.  IMO, this issue has "church politics" written all over it, not "defending the faith".
Mor,
If Fr. Robert did not write something that was contrary to Orthodox teaching, why did the OCA Synod release a statement re-affirming the Church's stance on homosexual "marriage"? And, they not only released the statement, but they took his article down.

This is not politics or a witch hunt. This is about communicating the teachings of the Church.
 

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there is a world, I would say a universe of a difference between saying we need to be more sensitive, should not ignore problems, issues, questions, etc. All that, I agree with, and saying that the teachings of the Church is somehow outdated, and needs to change as a means by which we accomplish being more sensitive, not ignoring problems, etc.

I am sorry, but I read Fr Robert's article, and that's is what it sounds like he is saying. Is it possible he didn't mean that, that he meant to say something else? Perhaps, but it sure as heck didn't come across like that, and many other people interpreted his article in the same way.

I do know for a fact that a parishioner of his is very vocal about the Church's changing its teachings on this issue, and she has been allowed to speak of such, lead others to follow in her way of thinking, especially our youth, and she has been given a platform to do this.

I must ask, Why? Why is she being allowed to do this? Why hasn't Fr Robert told her not to do this anymore? Why does the OCA continue to allow her to speak to our youth? She occasionally posts articles on the Wonder Blog and other places. You see, it isn't just Fr Robert's article that is upsetting people, but a series of many other questionable things that have been said and allowed within the OCA. Stepping back and looking at the whole picture is what some of us are doing, and are rightly very concerned. I don't have kids, but if I did, I would be very concerned about what is coming out of the OCA these days and whether or not I would want my kids to have a lot of interactions with the OCA.

Some of you ask for the benefit of the doubt in regards to Fr Robert, but I think the benefit of the doubt should also be given to those who are rightly upset by this, including OCA clergy!

The person I'm talking about is Inga Leonova, I have no qualms putting her name out there. If she truly believes in the rightness of her position, then she shouldn't mind if her name gets mentioned.
 

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Plus, if I, as a priest or a bishop, wrote something that is getting misunderstood and causing controvery, regardless of the legitimacy of the controversy, I would come out and say or write something to clarify my position. Wouldn't you? So Fr Robert, if you are reading this, where has your clarification been? Are you still working on it? Are you going to say anything? Hello?
 

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"3. Another context is the long history of accusations against Fr. Arida and his alleged communing of active, unrepentant homosexuals. While that is something that is between Fr. Arida and his bishop, the reality is that there is lots of smoke on this matter. I would think that someone of Fr. Arida's intelligence and experience would not have published an essay that was bound to irritate some audiences (a) conservative priests who disliked his nebulous call for change, (b) folks who were already questioning his practice and views vis-a-vis homosexuals, and (c) parents of priests of young people who visited the site that published his essay."

Well then, why did he published it?
 

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Well then, why did he published it?
The longer one swims in this particular pot of liberal soup,  the more one comes to imagine that one's opinions are so obviously true that everyone with any common sense will agree with them.  The only ones who don't agree are a few retrogrades sporting a new and alien spirit and who cares what they think.

 

Mor Ephrem

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Twenty Nine said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I just don't see why priests, who have undergone significant training and vetting, are suddenly guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of a flock that includes many laypeople who haven't been trained or vetted at all and regard themselves as innocent until proven guilty.  IMO, this issue has "church politics" written all over it, not "defending the faith".
Mor,
If Fr. Robert did not write something that was contrary to Orthodox teaching, why did the OCA Synod release a statement re-affirming the Church's stance on homosexual "marriage"? And, they not only released the statement, but they took his article down.

This is not politics or a witch hunt. This is about communicating the teachings of the Church.
Twenty Nine,

Since I'm not a member of the OCA (or even EO, just a well-wisher of both), I really don't like speculating on internal matters.  But my impression is that the OCA, of late, is reactionary.  The official statement you reference is just another example of that. 

First, let's be clear: it's not a statement of the Synod, but a "reflection" (he uses this word repeatedly) of the Primate who claims to have consulted the Synod.  See the seal at the top.     

Second, the version I'm reading right now simply says "I am instructing the editors of Wonder to replace the lead article in question with my present reflection".  An earlier version of the same statement authorised taking down Fr Arida's article while retaining the comments to it (a user here PM'd me having seen this version of the blog, but by the time I looked, the comments had been taken down as well as Fr Arida's article but the statement of His Beatitude was not edited, and this caused me looking around to find the comments he said would stay but were not there).  So there was a time when Fr Arida's article was replaced with His Beatitude's reflection while retaining the original comments, then a time when the comments were taken down but HB's reflection still indicated that they were to stay, and finally what we have now.  At least three versions in quick succession. 

Third, His Beatitude clearly states:

In reference to the specific topic of homosexuality, which is presumed by many of the respondents to Fr. Robert’s article to be the primary issue of discussion, I would draw the reader’s attention to the following paragraph from the third document above...

http://wonder.oca.org/2014/11/01/never-changing-gospel-ever-changing-culture/
   

He himself doesn't say he believes Fr Arida was talking about homosexuality, merely that a lot of people thought that's what he was talking about.  This is hardly the conclusive condemnation Fr Arida's opponents think it is.  IMO, HB is re-affirming traditional teaching without touching the question of what Fr Arida really believes. 

Fourth, he instructs the Department of Pastoral Life to take up this issue and include "all those who have contributed to this present discussion".  If Fr Arida was so clearly wrong, I doubt this would've been written in such a way as to lead one to reasonably conclude that he will be one of those invited to join in this process.  What would've been the point?

As for the rest of Metropolitan Tikhon's statement, IMO, it largely restates the kinds of things Fr Arida was talking about.  The difference is that no one seems to be reading various controversies into his words. 
 

Mor Ephrem

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DCBmoreOCF said:
Plus, if I, as a priest or a bishop, wrote something that is getting misunderstood and causing controvery, regardless of the legitimacy of the controversy, I would come out and say or write something to clarify my position. Wouldn't you? So Fr Robert, if you are reading this, where has your clarification been? Are you still working on it? Are you going to say anything? Hello?
It's so much easier to post your righteous indignation here, where Fr Arida might not see it, isn't it? 

Try here:

http://oca.org/parishes/OCA-NE-BOSHTK

There are three ways of contacting him right there, as well as the bishop and other clergy of the parish.  Why depend on OCNet? 
 

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Mor,

I have said it many times before, Fr. Robert is a well respected and capable priest, who has a long history in the OCA. He has contributed a lot of good things for the Church.

Caution ought to be taken in matters like this and not throw priests to the wolves, especially one of Fr. Robert's stature. He should be afforded respect in this discussion and afforded respect by his brother priests and the laity.

With that said, this is a serious issue, no matter who wrote the article. Those familiar with Fr. Robert and the Boston Cathedral are not surprise by the content of the article. You may not be familiar, but others are and they know how to read between the lines.

I think HB Tikhon is being cautious - as he should be. It is up to the OCA Synod to decide what to do next.
 

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Twenty Nine said:
Mor,

I have said it many times before, Fr. Robert is a well respected and capable priest, who has a long history in the OCA. He has contributed a lot of good things for the Church.

Caution ought to be taken in matters like this and not throw priests to the wolves, especially one of Fr. Robert's stature. He should be afforded respect in this discussion and afforded respect by his brother priests and the laity.
I agree, which is why I think the way this was handled on all levels we know about is a shame.

With that said, this is a serious issue, no matter who wrote the article. Those familiar with Fr. Robert and the Boston Cathedral are not surprise by the content of the article. You may not be familiar, but others are and they know how to read between the lines.
I would like to become familiar.  After all, if this is about the truth and not about politics, I think the claims and the evidence for them should be brought forth because they are serious accusations with potentially serious implications, canonical and otherwise, for real people.  "Those familiar with..." statements abound in this thread, but they say little that is constructive in and of themselves.  It's just a matter of whose gossip you find more interesting.

I think HB Tikhon is being cautious - as he should be. It is up to the OCA Synod to decide what to do next.
I agree.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I would like to become familiar.  After all, if this is about the truth and not about politics, I think the claims and the evidence for them should be brought forth because they are serious accusations with potentially serious implications, canonical and otherwise, for real people.  "Those familiar with..." statements abound in this thread, but they say little that is constructive in and of themselves.  It's just a matter of whose gossip you find more interesting.
It is not my place to do this and it would be wrong to do so. Archbishop Nikon is obviously very familiar with the Cathedral and the communicants, so no need for me or others to say anything. His authority in this matter must be respected. The buck stops with him.

I don't want to engage in gossip - but perhaps my comments could be taken that way. For that, I apologize. I can just speak for myself: I have been to the Cathedral many times, served there, etc. Lots of kind people and Fr. Robert is also very kind and very intelligent. Very welcoming man, very compassionate. Unfortunately, I think his article was wrong and misguided. He has a lot to offer the Church - that is why this is really sad.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Clemente said:
Is your position so weak that you have to rely on fallacy?
What fallacy?  You have made several accusations against me but you can't substantiate even one of them.  You cannot or will not answer my questions.
You have made a number of fallacies just in your exchange with me: deductive fallacy ("Then I suppose his opponents want to lynch gays"), unsubstantiated claims (Let me know when you have something to contribute other than gossip and innuendo), the acecdotal fallacy ("I've worked with them, studied with them, prayed with them, in some cases I've even played with their kids").

You have even admitted to using a fallacy, whilst at the same time committing the tu quoque fallacy:
I agree, it does not follow and is fallacious, and that's the kind of argument I feel the anti-Fr Arida crowd has been making.
Your "questions" have been delt with extensively in posts 12,59,61,74,77,79,80 and 100, so I will not re-post the same material.

Since you claim to have read both the article and the one I linked to previously, one of us evidently is misunderstanding Fr. Arida. I believe you, and a few others here, are in the minority in your benign understanding of Fr. Arida. A large number of Orthodox priests have commented on this article and criticised it. The Statement of the Brotherhood of Orthodox Clergy of Houston, signed by priests from many juristictions including the OCA, was stinging. http://orthodoxhouston.org/arida_response.html I have not seen one Orthodox priest who is defending Fr. Arida. The fact that Metropolitan Tikhon had the article taken down and, instead reaffirmed Orthodox doctrine on homosexuality, suggests also that sufficient numbers of Orthodox interpreted Fr. Arida's' article just as I have and were alarmed.

So I think your interpretation is a minority one. However, just because a majority believes something, doesn't mean that is true; I think we have seen sufficient fallacies here without my using the ad populum. Perhaps you are right in your reading of Fr. Arida: he is completely Orthodox with respect to homosexual sin.

In such case, he has written a very bad article, can we not agree? Its ambiguity led to such massive confusion that it had to be taken down after just three days. Fr. Arida has refused to issue any clarification, in spite of being well aware of the confusion he has caused.

You suggest that we should give Fr. Arida the benefit of the doubt. Have you any evidence to suggest that he affirms a traditional Orthodox view of homosexuality? Can you quote any public statement which would lead us to believe that? You have provided no evidence for this and even your anecdotal comments do not refer specifically to Fr. Arida. 

I really do hope your minority interpretation is correct and if so, I shall be the first to declare you a hero for defending him.

 

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I think the best thing to do at this point is to anathemize Mor and Fr. Robert and then send them to the desert to live their repentance out in solitude. Only then can the evilness that this essay has spread throughout the Church be stopped.
 

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Great response Clemente. It's really that simple, if that many people are misunderstanding his article, all he has to do is print a response clarifying what he meant. He Has Not Done So.

Remember, silence can and does sometimes speaks consent.
 

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I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
I share in your sadness when I see that civilised discourse devolves into ad hominem attacks and calling fellow Christians "stupid".
 

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Clemente said:
TheTrisagion said:
I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
I share in your sadness when I see that civilised discourse devolves into ad hominem attacks and calling fellow Christians "stupid".
Fortunately, no one has been called stupid, but there sure are some really stupid opinions on here!
 

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TheTrisagion said:
I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
Come on now. I thought most posts were thoughtful and indeed representative of Orthodox faithful--well, at least those who have been doing their homework. I thought Mor did a great job in presenting his VERY Orthodox approach to pastoral care. Indeed, if Fr. Arida had written what Mor said in reply #121 above, he would not be in the deep water he now finds himself.  I also thought that everybody else made their points cogently and respectfully--minus one hiccup, but we got over that fast.
 

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
I thought Mor did a great job in presenting his VERY Orthodox approach to pastoral care. Indeed, if Fr. Arida had written what Mor said in reply #121 above, he would not be in the deep water he now finds himself. 
My thoughts exactly
 

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Is it permissible to commune an openly and unabashedly gay couple in Orthodoxy?
(http://www.monomakhos.com/texas-orthodox-clergy-deliver-stinging-rebuke-to-arida-and-enablers)

If we were talking about someone who had an intense proclivity to drink too much or something else that the Church considers a vice, then my impression is that Orthodoxy would not have the person openly say that it is acceptable.
 

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
TheTrisagion said:
I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
Come on now. I thought most posts were thoughtful and indeed representative of Orthodox faithful--well, at least those who have been doing their homework. I thought Mor did a great job in presenting his VERY Orthodox approach to pastoral care. Indeed, if Fr. Arida had written what Mor said in reply #121 above, he would not be in the deep water he now finds himself.  I also thought that everybody else made their points cogently and respectfully--minus one hiccup, but we got over that fast.
Except for the fact the the thread is laden with gossip about a priest and his bishop with speculation on who they are and are not communing and why they haven't written responses and on and on. The complaints are centrally focused on some ambiguous wording that people are reading into because of some "reputation" that no one has actually been able to demonstrate is accurate and then because no response has been given, it is somehow ok to crow about how the accusations must be true.  There could be a million reasons why he hasn't written a response that don't involve him secretly trying to subvert the Church with homosexual propaganda. In this world where everyone is all ready to jump the gun and judge authority figures without any of the facts, I would hope that as Orthodox Christians, we could seek to avoid that temptation. Sadly, it is proven to not be the case.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
TheTrisagion said:
I weep for the stupidity of this forum and pray that it is not representative of the Orthodox faithful across the world.
Come on now. I thought most posts were thoughtful and indeed representative of Orthodox faithful--well, at least those who have been doing their homework. I thought Mor did a great job in presenting his VERY Orthodox approach to pastoral care. Indeed, if Fr. Arida had written what Mor said in reply #121 above, he would not be in the deep water he now finds himself.  I also thought that everybody else made their points cogently and respectfully--minus one hiccup, but we got over that fast.
Except for the fact the the thread is laden with gossip about a priest and his bishop with speculation on who they are and are not communing and why they haven't written responses and on and on. The complaints are centrally focused on some ambiguous wording that people are reading into because of some "reputation" that no one has actually been able to demonstrate is accurate and then because no response has been given, it is somehow ok to crow about how the accusations must be true.  There could be a million reasons why he hasn't written a response that don't involve him secretly trying to subvert the Church with homosexual propaganda. In this world where everyone is all ready to jump the gun and judge authority figures without any of the facts, I would hope that as Orthodox Christians, we could seek to avoid that temptation. Sadly, it is proven to not be the case.
I get what you are saying, but doesn't that depend on your perspective? If you heard about this for the first time, I submit to you that you would have one reaction. If you have been hearing about this for a long time and/or you have witnessed alleged misbehaviour, then you would have a very different reaction. Perhaps the reactions of the latter are overblown but the Turks have a saying that may be applicable here: "Once burnt by hot milk, one blows on yogurt."
 

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rakovsky said:
Is it permissible to commune an openly and unabashedly gay couple in Orthodoxy?
(http://www.monomakhos.com/texas-orthodox-clergy-deliver-stinging-rebuke-to-arida-and-enablers)

If we were talking about someone who had an intense proclivity to drink too much or something else that the Church considers a vice, then my impression is that Orthodoxy would not have the person openly say that it is acceptable.
I agree. If I repent of a sin, I could not possible proclaim that it is not a sin. I could lie and proclaim that I did not commit that sin or I could be silent, but I could proclaim that it is not a sin.

Some thoughtful souls have brought up the questions of how in the world can we judge others and dare to throw that first stone. So, we need to talk about in generalities and not apply that to specific cases.

Generally speaking, the Church would not commune unrepentant "fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals (catamites), nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners.." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Generally speaking, anybody who teaches otherwise would not be an orthodox Christian and certainly not a member of one of the Orthodox autocephalous and autonomous churches.
 

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DCBmoreOCF said:
Remember, silence can and does sometimes speaks consent.
Or he could be bearing his cross quietly in humility for the time being on the orders of his bishop.  We don't know.  People are posting here as if this priest is a known advocate for the normalization of homosexual sin.  Admittedly, I'd barely heard of him before this debacle, but I don't see anyone posting proof that he communes unrepentant homosexuals, has endorsed homosexual unions, or anything of the sort.

The rush to judgment seems to me frightening.  It reminds me of the instant condemnation of Fr. Peter Jon Gilquist by some posters during the Heimbach affair, characterizing him as a spineless coward more concerned with appeasing the spirit of the age than calling his spiritual son to repentance.  When did we stop giving our priests the benefit of the doubt?  When did we start presuming to know the pastoral needs of their flocks and how best they might address them?

My reading of his essay is quite similar to that advanced by Opus, especially after listening to Fr. Robert's sermon about how best to transform the society around us and keeping the Church from being - in the words of one blog's author - "abused as a prop in various political contests".

In the same post, the blog's author indicates that "Quite a few of the members of this same-sex lobby within the OCA have ties to St. Vladimir’s Seminary, two of whose current faculty members (Al Rossi PhD and Fr John Behr) are members of the pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group run by Inga Leonova".  This - the idea that there might be a "same sex lobby" at St. Vlad's up to and including the dean and prominent faculty members - is something that I imagine Mor Ephrem might be able to tell us about from personal experience.  Do you have any indication that this might be true, Mor?

For the record, I am absolutely and completely against the compromising of the Church's teaching on this issue, the recognition of homosexual unions, which are as inherently sinful as any sexual union outside the confines of marriage - which can only be between one man and one woman - or the idea of mainstreaming homosexuality in any way.  That said, I agree with Mor's description of the best way to handle the matter pastorally speaking.  Any theology divorced from its pastoral dimension is worthless and benefits no one, and we don't know what pastoral issues Fr. Robert is dealing with among his flock.  I for one think it would be wise to reserve judgment until we have all the facts.
 

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Clemente said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Clemente said:
Is your position so weak that you have to rely on fallacy?
What fallacy?  You have made several accusations against me but you can't substantiate even one of them.  You cannot or will not answer my questions.
You have made a number of fallacies just in your exchange with me: deductive fallacy ("Then I suppose his opponents want to lynch gays"), unsubstantiated claims (Let me know when you have something to contribute other than gossip and innuendo), the acecdotal fallacy ("I've worked with them, studied with them, prayed with them, in some cases I've even played with their kids").

You have even admitted to using a fallacy, whilst at the same time committing the tu quoque fallacy:
I agree, it does not follow and is fallacious, and that's the kind of argument I feel the anti-Fr Arida crowd has been making.
LOL.  <-- I suppose that's another "unsubstantiated claim".  But let's play your game, this could be fun.   

Your "questions" have been delt with extensively in posts 12,59,61,74,77,79,80 and 100, so I will not re-post the same material.
I'll have a look at those again, thanks. 

Since you claim to have read both the article and the one I linked to previously, one of us evidently is misunderstanding Fr. Arida. I believe you, and a few others here, are in the minority in your benign understanding of Fr. Arida.
Unsubstantiated claim.

A large number of Orthodox priests have commented on this article and criticised it. The Statement of the Brotherhood of Orthodox Clergy of Houston, signed by priests from many juristictions including the OCA, was stinging. http://orthodoxhouston.org/arida_response.html I have not seen one Orthodox priest who is defending Fr. Arida.
Anecdotal fallacy.

The fact that Metropolitan Tikhon had the article taken down and, instead reaffirmed Orthodox doctrine on homosexuality, suggests also that sufficient numbers of Orthodox interpreted Fr. Arida's' article...
Deductive fallacy.

Also, Metropolitan Tikhon not only took Fr Arida's article down, but he also took down the comments to the article.  By your logic, HB also opposes their points of view. 

No, I read those two acts as well as his recommendation that this discussion be conducted by the Department of Pastoral Life as an attempt to put an end to the immediate controversy in order to deal with it more effectively and thoroughly in the right place at the right time.  He says as much. 

...just as I have and were alarmed.
Anecdotal fallacy.

So I think your interpretation is a minority one. However, just because a majority believes something, doesn't mean that is true; I think we have seen sufficient fallacies here without my using the ad populum.
Yes, we have. 

Perhaps you are right in your reading of Fr. Arida: he is completely Orthodox with respect to homosexual sin.

In such case, he has written a very bad article, can we not agree? Its ambiguity led to such massive confusion that it had to be taken down after just three days.
We can agree, but at the moment I do not.  Fr Arida's article, on its face, is a rather innocuous piece of writing, IMO.  If I'm to believe it is "a very bad article", it is on the basis of what a bunch of other people took it to mean based on claims "familiar to those who know Fr Arida and the Boston Cathedral", their own fear of becoming like the Episcopalian Church, etc. 

I'm sorry, but if I write an article on how "Jesus loves little children" and sixty people comment on how I'm promoting pedophilia, they're going to need a lot more evidence than "if you were knowledgeable enough about what went on in the RC Archdiocese of Boston, you would understand".   

Fr. Arida has refused to issue any clarification, in spite of being well aware of the confusion he has caused.
Deductive fallacy.

How do you know Fr Arida has refused?  So far, the most authoritative statement on this issue has come from his Metropolitan, who in his own rambling reflection refused to come out and say that Fr Arida was wrong, only that many readers presumed he was talking about a particular issue (homosexuality).  How do you know that Fr Arida refuses to clarify?  Perhaps his ecclesiastical superiors have asked or ordered him not to enter this fray again for the time being.  Why assume malice on his part?   

You suggest that we should give Fr. Arida the benefit of the doubt. Have you any evidence to suggest that he affirms a traditional Orthodox view of homosexuality?
He is an Orthodox priest ordained by an Orthodox bishop and in good standing with his canonical hierarchs.  In order to be ordained in the Orthodox Church, candidates must profess the Orthodox faith and be free of canonical impediments, among other things.  The fact of his ordination is itself the evidence unless and until others can prove otherwise.   

Can you quote any public statement which would lead us to believe that?
"The grace divine, which always heals that which is infirm and completes that which is lacking, ordains the most pious deacon Robert to be a priest." 

"Axios!"

You have provided no evidence for this and even your anecdotal comments do not refer specifically to Fr. Arida.
I don't see the need to provide evidence that an Orthodox priest in good standing is Orthodox.  Those claiming that he is heterodox in his beliefs and knowingly violating the holy canons of the Church in egregious ways are the ones who bear the burden of proving their accusations, for these are serious matters.  This is basic canon law, not to mention courtesy. 

I really do hope your minority interpretation is correct and if so, I shall be the first to declare you a hero for defending him.
I don't want to be anyone's hero. 
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
In the same post, the blog's author indicates that "Quite a few of the members of this same-sex lobby within the OCA have ties to St. Vladimir’s Seminary, two of whose current faculty members (Al Rossi PhD and Fr John Behr) are members of the pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group run by Inga Leonova".  This - the idea that there might be a "same sex lobby" at St. Vlad's up to and including the dean and prominent faculty members - is something that I imagine Mor Ephrem might be able to tell us about from personal experience.  Do you have any indication that this might be true, Mor?
I have no reason to believe that there is a "same sex lobby" at SVS.  I certainly didn't pick up on anything like that during my time there, but I generally don't spend my time looking for "pernicious homosexualists" under every rock. 

Any idea what the name of the "pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group" is?  Not that I think membership in a Facebook group necessarily means anything important, but I'd like to look into this.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I don't want to be anyone's hero.  
Too late.

Careful, Antonious Nikolas.  By demonstrating your fondness for me, who have ties to people who have ties to people who have ties to people who might believe heterodox things, you risk coming under suspicion for supporting homosexuality in the Coptic Orthodox Church.  :p
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I have no reason to believe that there is a "same sex lobby" at SVS.  I certainly didn't pick up on anything like that during my time there, but I generally don't spend my time looking for "pernicious homosexualists" under every rock.
Thank you.  I have quite a few friends who've attended that seminary - most of them very theologically conservative - and I've never heard a thing along those lines either.  For what it's worth, I've also heard that the two faculty members mentioned in the blog would be the last people to be associated with such a lobby.

Mor Ephrem said:
Any idea what the name of the "pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group" is?  Not that I think membership in a Facebook group necessarily means anything important, but I'd like to look into this.
You must've missed the link in my last post (it was in the word "sermon").  According to the blog, the Facebook group in question is:

Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church.
http://www.aoiusa.org/same-sex-marriage-and-the-revolt-against-metropolitan-jonah/

Mor Ephrem said:
Careful, Antonious Nikolas.  By demonstrating your fondness for me, who have ties to people who have ties to people who have ties to people who might believe heterodox things, you risk coming under suspicion for supporting homosexuality in the Coptic Orthodox Church.  :p
I guess now would be a bad time to show you the new masnaphto/phayno combo I was going to pitch to your bishop next time I visited a Malankara church?

 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I have no reason to believe that there is a "same sex lobby" at SVS.  I certainly didn't pick up on anything like that during my time there, but I generally don't spend my time looking for "pernicious homosexualists" under every rock.
Thank you.  I have quite a few friends who've attended that seminary - most of them very theologically conservative - and I've never heard a thing along those lines either.  For what it's worth, I've also heard that the two faulty members mentioned in the blog would be the last people to be associated with such a lobby.
I would agree with that. 

I guess now would be a bad time to show you the new turbina/phanyo combo I was going to pitch to your bishop next time I visited a Malankara church?

It's not new for us.  :p
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
In the same post, the blog's author indicates that "Quite a few of the members of this same-sex lobby within the OCA have ties to St. Vladimir’s Seminary, two of whose current faculty members (Al Rossi PhD and Fr John Behr) are members of the pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group run by Inga Leonova".  This - the idea that there might be a "same sex lobby" at St. Vlad's up to and including the dean and prominent faculty members - is something that I imagine Mor Ephrem might be able to tell us about from personal experience.  Do you have any indication that this might be true, Mor?
I have no reason to believe that there is a "same sex lobby" at SVS.  I certainly didn't pick up on anything like that during my time there, but I generally don't spend my time looking for "pernicious homosexualists" under every rock. 

Any idea what the name of the "pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group" is?  Not that I think membership in a Facebook group necessarily means anything important, but I'd like to look into this.
If we are to be judged as Orthodox Christians by our Facebook friend lists, our membership in Facebook groups or other discussion groups , our membership in academic societies or simply by our real life friends and acquaintances, we are in trouble. Is the memory of Joe McCarthy that far distant ?
 

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Fr Behr's writings in the Facebook group don't look particularly unusual:
http://www.orthodoxlistening.com/?s=behr



I suppose that the Texas clergy letter was worth stating. But I am not real enthused by the fact that it was almost all non-OCA clergy who signed it, because it seemed a bit like a pile on by other jurisdictions.

Edited to add clerical title.  Mor.
 

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rakovsky said:
I suppose that the Texas clergy letter was worth stating. But I am not real enthused by the fact that it was almost all non-OCA clergy who signed it, because it seemed a bit like a pile on by other jurisdictions.
Jurisdictions, it should be noted, with their own closeted skeletons. 
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
You must've missed the link in my last post (it was in the word "sermon").  According to the blog, the Facebook group in question is:

Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church.
http://www.aoiusa.org/same-sex-marriage-and-the-revolt-against-metropolitan-jonah/
This content is currently unavailable

The page you requested cannot be displayed at the moment. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.
More smoke and mirrors, no doubt.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
You must've missed the link in my last post (it was in the word "sermon").  According to the blog, the Facebook group in question is:

Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church.
http://www.aoiusa.org/same-sex-marriage-and-the-revolt-against-metropolitan-jonah/
This content is currently unavailable

The page you requested cannot be displayed at the moment. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.
More smoke and mirrors, no doubt.
The blog works on my computer, but I can't oppen the link to Fr. Behr's facebook page. Even if I could it wouldnt change a lot- we already know that Fr . Behr belonged to the Facebook group. But what he wrote on that group I linked to above- and he didn't write anything ground shattering.

Edited to add clerical titles.  Mor.
 

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rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
You must've missed the link in my last post (it was in the word "sermon").  According to the blog, the Facebook group in question is:

Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church.
http://www.aoiusa.org/same-sex-marriage-and-the-revolt-against-metropolitan-jonah/
This content is currently unavailable

The page you requested cannot be displayed at the moment. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.
More smoke and mirrors, no doubt.
The blog works on my computer, but I can't oppen the link to Behr's facebook page. Even if I could it wouldnt change a lot- we already know that Behr belonged to the Facebook group. But what he wrote on that group I linked to above- and he didn't write anything ground shattering.
Please use proper clerical titles (e.g., "Fr Behr") in order to comply with official forum rules. 

Mor Ephrem, moderator
 
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