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I noticed the Fr. Bitsko/Smithtown thread has been closed. And the replacement thread that I opened seems to have disappeared with no trace of it ever existing...let's try this again... Please keep us informed regarding this parish and any other like happenings...It's important for people to realize they are not necessarily responsible...there is too much of a pattern in the Eparchy of Passaic...

Chris

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If you ask me, and I have seen this from experience. People do not support their Church enough finacially,they think everything runs by itself (lack of committment to volunteering) and for free.
They want everything provided for them and yet dont contribute.
Most just attend on Sunday and many not even that often.
So I can see why a parish closes.
It happened to the Church where I was baptized. 150+ years later its being torn down and I find that sad.
I try to contribute 10 % and at times im sure it well over that amount with special collections.
Stephanos I

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Father,

I agree with your assesment...I have seen this many times myself...however, from my experiences...what is happening in Smithtown, NY appears to be exactly what happened in my parish almost 2 years ago (and approximately 18 other parishes over the last 20 years in His Grace Andrew's jurisdictions...the commitment of the parishioners and "financial crisis" was a clergy/heirarchy created issue...If you go back and look at some of my postings 2 years ago...exactly what I said to look out for is occuring...I'm not a prophet...just someone who remains vigilant, and looks for trends...

Chris

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The bishop is what, 80 years old? I mean how come he has not been forced to retire yet? And has anyone bothered to write the apostolic nuncio about these closings? Has a canon lawyer been contacted about these closings? I mean people can troll and complain about this online all they want but nothing will happen if people don't organize, get a lawyer and do some serious letter writing. I know almost nothing about Canon Law, but I think if these old guys are plotting and disbanding parish councils and destroying grave yards it must in violatoin of some canon. And has anyone thought about the secular government? Are there not laws against messing with grave sites?

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I'm taking this opportunity as a Moderator to warn all posters that the tone and tenor of the Smithtown thread went far beyond the bounds of charity that this forum requires and in some cases that posts were edited that could have been construed as libelous. The Moderators and Administrators will not tolerate this kind of venting. That is the reason that the thread was closed.

If this or any future thread moves in that direction, it, too, will be closed and posters receive limits on their posting privileges. We are not to be bashing bishops or clergy here, even if we disagree with their actions in carrying out what they see as their duties related to their offices.

If this cannot be a place to discuss things with charity, then it may be time for new rules relating to specific topics.

In Christ,

BOB

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Originally Posted by theophan
We are not to be bashing bishops or clergy here, even if we disagree with their actions in carrying out what they see as their duties related to their offices.

If this cannot be a place to discuss things with charity, then it may be time for new rules relating to specific topics.

In Christ,

BOB


As always, Bob, I'm going to take you at your word: which is a good word.

In reply, to you and to the original poster, I would say this:

Episcopal autocracy is part of being Catholic. It is also part of being Orthodox. It is built into the very structure of those Churches.

In general, the bishops own the parishes and their property and their money. They can do what they want with those things. It doesn't matter what the people might think.

That includes the people who are directly affected by bishops' decisions. I know that from personal experience. When I was a Roman Catholic, our bishop shut down our parish. He said that there was a priest shortage, and he had to make cuts somewhere, so he closed parishes that were not "viable." We thought we were viable, and we had good numbers (in money and demographics) to prove it. We also offered various alternatives to closing our parish to His Excellency, but he decided to shut us down anyway. And because he owned everything in the diocese, he could and he did.

From what I understand, Orthodox bishops have similar power in their churches.

So, it can be all well and good to report on the various decisions by the bishops.

But, after a certain point, it becomes rather pointless. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are autocratic, not democratic, in structure. The bishops in those denominations can do what they want with church property.

Hence, there is a choice: remain or go. If one remains in the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church, a person must find a way to deal with the autocratic nature of the church's organization around the bishops. (And part of that is carefully deciding who and what to give money to.) The other alternative is to quit and, perhaps, to join a congregational, Protestant church.

Just my two cents' worth.

-- John



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Originally Posted by harmon3110
The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are autocratic, not democratic, in structure. The bishops in those denominations can do what they want with church property.

Hence, there is a choice: remain or go. If one remains in the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church, a person must find a way to deal with the autocratic nature of the church's organization around the bishops. (And part of that is carefully deciding who and what to give money to.) The other alternative is to quit and, perhaps, to join a congregational, Protestant church.

By the way, I am not defending that system. I am merely pointing it out and the only two real options regarding it.

-- John

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John I agree with your statements...I think that (the authority of the bishop) is sometimes lost in these discussions...the bishop has all authority to do as he pleases in his eparchy. Believe me, if I didn't believe that I would not have become Orthodox. At least to me, the manner in which these closings are being done is "evil". It is scandalous to the faithful. Ignoring these and allowing them to be "swept under the rug" empowers the evil to fester...I also agree that parishioners should "quit" but leave en mass and go to a jurisdiction that respects fellow members of the church...

I think this actually ties in to other items of discussion such as universal jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome...since the bishops are appointed and not elected...

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Dear John:

Just a clarification to your general observation regarding the ownership of diocesan properties.

No, the Bishop does NOT own any of the properties. They are owned by the Diocese, as the juridical entity or "person" recognized under both ecclesiastical and secular laws.

However, the Bishop is the living person in representation of his Diocese and, therefore, he is vested by law (ecclesiastical and secular) with the powers and authority belonging to the Diocese. As part of those powers, the Bishop may acquire and dispose of properties, but always in the name of the Diocese (or in his name as "Corporation Sole" but to the benefit always of the Diocese).

This principle holds true whether the Diocese was incorporated as a "Corporation Sole" or as a non-profit corporate body.


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Amadeus...

I believe you touched on something important here:
Quote
However, the Bishop is the living person in representation of his Diocese...

Is the diocese/eparchy or the church as a whole made up by its members...a bishop has nothing if no members under him...it is the resposibility for the bishop to represent his diocese in a way that is becoming a Christian...

Chris

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Originally Posted by Job
Amadeus...

I believe you touched on something important here:
Quote
However, the Bishop is the living person in representation of his Diocese...

Is the diocese/eparchy or the church as a whole made up by its members...a bishop has nothing if no members under him...it is the resposibility for the bishop to represent his diocese in a way that is becoming a Christian...

Chris

A Diocese/Eparchy precedes a Bishop or an Eparch. There is no Bishop nor an Eparch WITHOUT first the establishment of a Diocese or an Eparchy.

A Diocese or an Eparchy (not a parish) is the "smallest" integral unit of the Church universal, i.e., the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" subsists in a Diocese or an Eparchy!

Based on the (Catholic) Canons, a Diocese/Eparchy must have at least 2 parishes to remain as such.

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These are key points...

I hope you didn't take my prior posting to be some sort of disagrement...it was meant more as questions...trying to get people reading this to do some evaluation of where they stand...

I agree with what you have written in the prior two postings...


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Originally Posted by Job
I think this actually ties in to other items of discussion such as universal jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome...since the bishops are appointed and not elected...

Chris,

Pardon my ignorance, but do some Orthodox jurisdictions still elect bishops?

Gordo

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Yes, certainly.
Fr. Serge

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John:

I agree with your post. I think we have to remember that God has His Hand in all this--something we seem to forget all too often when things go awry in the Church. Somehow He is involved and His Holy Spirit guides our human history. It may not seem to be something we can always understand, but He is there.

That having been said, we often seem to be--as someone told me many years ago--viewing the tapestry of life from the reverse side with all its broken threads, knots, and dim colors. When we get to the Kingdom, God will show us His tapestry and we will see the big picture clearly. Now it may not be clear; now things may hurt. But to be configured to Christ means we have to suffer with Him and sometimes that means suffering inside the Church as well as enduring the external attacks for being a member of Christ.

For those who are suffering, let me offer my prayers that your pain may ease and you not lose sight of the One Who is your hope. Your hope is not in the building, the events, the community relationships, but in Christ Himself--all other things flowing from that. For some, this series of events will give you a taste of what other threads have discussed in terms of Mother Teresa of Calcutta--the awful emptiness that comes with thinking that God Himself has abandoned you and your community. He hasn't.

In Christ,

BOB

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