The GreekAmerican - November 21, 1998


[ Allowing ourselves to be manipulated by others ]

To the Editor:

I was both pleased and dismayed by the recent letter signed by a group of Priests of our Church expressing their concerns. It appears to be a healthy, change from the past where no individual or collective difference of opinion was ever permitted. It certainly speaks to the openness and commitment of our clergy now that they have the opportunity and ability to express their pent-up frustrations.

I am dismayed by the letter because in their rush for an appeal of unity, love and sincerity, it appears that they wittingly or unwittingly allowed their good names and reputations to become part of the public spotlight and be used by those who seek to create ever widening division in our Church.

It is disheartening to have priests, who I know and continue to love and respect, appear to be supporting false allegations. Their statements concerning our Church organizations, charter and by-laws are most disturbing. Although I cannot speak about any other issues raised, being a member of the Board of St. Basil Academy, I take personal offense to any implication of impropriety or wrong doing by the Board.

The President and Board of Trustees have met and continue to meet regularly to deal with the ever challenging and complex issues confronting the health and education of the children of St. Basil's. The inaccurate and unsubstantiated statements in their letter are disappointing, particularly because they did not make any effort to discuss their concerns with the Board before going public.

The allegations concerning the Clergy-Laity Congress, the Charter and the by-laws are reminiscent of GOAL propaganda, that was rejected overwhelmingly by the over eight hundred delegates at the most recent Clergy Laity Congress.

Arguments of autocratic rule and lack of due process are somewhat disingenuous since for the last thirty seven years no voice of dissent, no question of authority, no deviation from the rule was even thought, let alone permitted. Now for the first time we have an opportunity, through continuing dialogue to express our opinions and seek resolutions of some long standing issues.

The question is not really if we have problems that need to be addressed. Certainly we do. It is the means by which we are to solve them that is most important.

GOAL should be credited for having awakened our collective conscientiousness to consider these long festering issues confronting our Church. But GOAL is not the body to address, deliberate, or reach conclusions on these issues. Their agenda is clearly anathema to anyone who looks beyond the facade of their self righteous claim of love, unity and spirituality.

The letter that was signed by the group of priests sounds too much like a GOAL public relations release written by lawyers for lawyers. I have been informed that in some cases priests who did not sign the letter were asked to sign a blank sheet of paper with no text attached. If that was the case here, certainly the credibility of the signatories and their appeal is questionable.

Are we ready to believe that all of the ills that need to be addressed, and the alleged authoritative rule of our Church have only occurred during the last two years? This has been a long time coming, a brewing storm where no dissent and no dialogue was ever permitted. For once we have leadership that allows, welcomes and addresses our concerns, more so now than ever before.

Undoubtedly there is room for improvement and certainly there is a need for more dialogue, constructive criticism, and analysis of how we can improve our Church as we move into the next millennium. We need to focus on substantive issues and not become distracted by individual egos and powermongers, who no longer find themselves at the helm and who refuse to support this effort.

Our Church would be better served if we worked toward problem resolution rather than engage in our time honored tradition of finding fault with others. Allowing ourselves to be manipulated by others who have questionable agendas serves no useful purpose. Let us stop the double speak, hypocrisy and rumor mongering and get on with the work of our Church together now.

Peter Kakoyiannis
Yardley, PA

[ The GreekAmerican - November 21, 1998 - p. _ ]