Has Greek Orthodox Church Learned any Lessons from Roman Catholic Church?

Author: Staff
Date Published: 03/11/2007
Publication: Orthodox Reform

A National Herald article by Theodore Kalmoukos calls on the Greek Orthodox Church to not make the painful mistakes that have cost the Roman Catholics so dearly:

In light of the upheaval within America’s very large Roman Catholic community, it would be a tragic mistake if the Greek Orthodox Church in America does not learn from the painful and extremely costly experiences of the Roman Catholic Church.

The recent accusations against Father Nicholas Katinas, 72, one of the most prominent priests of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, who enjoyed a successful ministry at the Holy Trinity Church in Dallas, should serve as a wakeup call for our Church.

It took eight months for the Archdiocese to go public with the allegations of sexual misconduct against Father Katinas, and to fully inform the Dallas parish, as well as the Church membership at-large, about why the former Dallas pastor was suspended last July, just four days after he retired.

Kalmoukos makes a candid point about the GOA’s need to act:

The Katinas case should make us think very seriously as a Church. We need to stop behaving like ostriches, burying our heads in the sand, and stop cultivating the same culture of secrecy which led the Roman Catholic Church into catastrophic circumstances.

The reporter goes on to ask some hard questions which to date the GOA has not been willing to answer:

When did the Archdiocese become aware of the accusations against Father Katinas? When was Father Katinas himself informed, and by whom, since he suddenly filed his retirement papers last June? Why did the Archdiocese, through the Chancery, request his release from the Denver Metropolis, under which he served for 28 years at Holy Trinity Church in Dallas, and transfer to the Archdiocesan District, which is under the direct ecclesiastical authority of Archbishop Demetrios? Why did Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver grant Father Katinas’ release (certainly, in a way, Isaiah liberated himself of yet another serious burden)? Why was Father Katinas’ suspension not immediately published in the Orthodox Observer, the official publication of the Archdiocese, but rather after five months, and after members of the Holy Eparchial Synod exerted pressure on the Archbishop during the Synod’s October 2006 meeting? What was the alleged role of the Archbishop’s secretary, Alice Keurian, in telling the Observer’s office to withdraw Father Katinas’ name from the list of suspended clergy, which reportedly made Michael Jaharis, vice chairman of the Archdiocesan Council’s Executive Committee, hit the roof?

Was there a cover-up? Kalmoukos seems to hint at one:

It’s inconceivable and, to some extent, foolish to try and persuade us on February 17 not to publish a story about Father Katinas’ case, and then to issue a news release admitting the problem on February 23.

Read the full article at http://www.thenationalherald.com/issue.asp?issue=18973.