THE SCANDAL OF SEXUAL ABUSE: A MOMENT OF RADICAL CONVERSION FOR THE CHURCH by Gilles Mongeau, SJ

Editorial Foreword
We offer the present reflection to our many Roman Catholic readers, our Protestant and Anglican readers, our Orthodox readers, and all of our readers of good will, whether Christian or not. The clergy sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church—with its latest chapter in the grand jury report from Pennsylvania—weighs heavily and painfully on all Christians everywhere, regardless of our particular ecclesial affiliation. Not one of us has grounds to cast stones at the Roman Church, because not one of us belongs to a church that is institutionally sinless. All of our churches stand in need of repentance, healing, and reform through the collaboration of human initiative with divine grace. 
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Le Sacré Cœur (The Sacred Heart). Maurice Denis. 1916.

In the last few weeks, the ongoing scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has once again become front page news, with the publication of accusations against Theodore McCarrick, and the release of the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into sexual abuse in the dioceses of that state.

I have recently become the associate to the provincial superior of the Jesuits of Canada. In that new role, it is my responsibility to review and supervise the policies and practices of our community for the protection of vulnerable persons. But for the last fifteen years, in my work as a theologian, I was tasked with preparing young men and women for ordained and lay ecclesial ministry. In that context, I trained these future ministers to conduct themselves professionally, to respect boundaries, and to recognize their power in a ministry relationship so as to exercise fiduciary care for the other. I have made sure that they understand their responsibilities to report abuse to the proper civil and ecclesial authorities. My students know what they need to do to exercise good self-care, and they can recognize in themselves the need for supervision in difficult situations. Read More


LITURGY AND BYZANTINIZATION IN JERUSALEM reviewed by John (Patrick) Ramsey

Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem
Daniel Galadza
Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2018

galadzabookThis work fills a much needed void in our understanding of the liturgical tradition in Jerusalem. It focuses on the recognition of a unique rite in Jerusalem and the surrounding region, and on where and when the transformation of the rite evolved to conform to that in Constantinople—a process that the author calls Byzantinization.

The author bases his research on a wide range of early manuscripts, which are often written in Armenian or Georgian, that have maintained testimony to the ritual practices in Jerusalem prior to its conformity to those in Constantinople, completed by the 12th/13th centuries. He also examines secondary sources for testimonies regarding the liturgical practices in Jerusalem, such as the writings of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and the travel journals of Egeria. He stresses the importance of considering the calendar and lectionary as well as priestly service books, or euchologia.

The book is an academic work. Sections of it are given to addressing the details of such things as lectionaries and calendars, which some may find a little dry. He provides a number of useful tables to illustrate the evidence. Nevertheless, he does not get heavily buried in such sections, but uses them to provide just enough evidence to illustrate his argument. Thus the book flows well in developing the topic. Read More


TO BE GAY IS TO BE A PERSON: WHY REAL ORTHODOXY LIBERATES – A ROMANIAN CASE STUDY by Richard Răzvan Vytniorgu

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Richard Vytniorgu

I remember when I told my mother I preferred men; I had to repeat it several times. In her mind I would obviously get married one day and give her some beloved grandchildren. And then she asked me what actually happened – how did two males have sex together? I mean, how could they? I could hear the cogs turning over cyberspace.

But I’d been warned. My friend Cosmin told me they wouldn’t understand, especially in a rural area like Bukovina. It wasn’t so much that Romanians are vehemently homophobic and intolerant of same-sex relationships, as in Serbia and parts of Russia, for example. But rather that many Romanians, especially outside of Bucharest, simply aren’t familiar with the open expression of alternative sexualities.

Of course, there’s a correlative reason why many Romanians are suspicious of homosexuality, and that’s the way many perceive the Church — against the ‘sin of Sodom’. Throughout history, Eastern Orthodox churches have colluded with the governments of the nation states in which they are rooted, and at times this relationship between Church and State borders on the incestuous. It’s highly convenient for the State if the Church encourages attitudes which fit with its own political agenda.

During the Ceaușescu era, the policy of nation building in Romania took on the new proportions in which the infamous Decree 770 was anchored: contraception and abortion were banned in order to increase population growth. The age-old tendency to superimpose sexual mores on procreation was thus cemented, and in rural areas of Romania, where life was in many ways better under the socialist regime than it is currently, there seems to be a tacit and sometimes overt consensus that women birth babies and men demonstrate their manhood by making them. Read More


DECRIMINALISATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN RUSSIA LEADS TO FALL IN REPORTED CASES by Marianna Spring

Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers are urged to read the present article in conjunction with the following:

  1. The Russian Orthodox Church, the Law, and Family Violence” – Lena Zezulin, The Wheel 
  2. Beat Her When You Are Alone Together”: Domestic Violence in the Russian Tradition, Past and Present” – Nadieszda Kizenko, Public Orthodoxy
  3. Is the Russian Orthodox Church Pushing Battered Women into Feminism?” – Lena Zezulin, Public Orthodoxy
  4. On ‘Orthodox’ Wife-Beating and О «Православном» избиении жены” – Giacomo Sanfilippo, Orthodoxy in Dialogue
  5. Notes to Protestants from an Orthodox Priest – Ditch the ‘Honey Do’ List” and “Feminazi Toenails, the Noxious Odors of Feminist Feet, and Ending the Conversation When You Don’t Like the Way Your Wife Talks to You” – Father Joseph Gleason, Orthodoxy in Dialogue
  6. St. Paul on Marriage: A Brief Response to a ‘Priest in Russia’” – Giacomo Sanfilippo, Orthodoxy in Dialogue
  7. How to Attract a Christian Spouse — Marriage Advice from a Christian Dad” and “Attractiveness: Beauty Is Not Just on the Inside”  (note especially the need of “godly men” to find a young, pretty, and submissive wife) – Al Blazek, Russian Faith: Christian Renaissance  

Campaigners say sharp decline is due to new law deterring women from contacting police

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“To beat means to love. 143 countries in the world have laws against domestic violence.” (Photo by Vladimir Gerdo/TASS)

Russian women suffering domestic violence are being deterred from going to the police since its partial decriminalisation last year, campaigners have claimed after a dramatic fall in reported incidents.

The state statistics, released in July, reveal that the number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police in 2017 almost halved since physical abuse became punishable by a fine rather than time in prison. Read More


THE SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN TURKEY by B. Theodore Bozonelis

This article provides important additional background to Niko Efstathiou’s “Islamic Educational Center Planned beside Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Shuttered Theological School” and Fehim Tastekin’s “Are Turkey’s Christians as ‘Fine’ as They Say?” 

TURKEY GREEK ORTHODOX EASTERDespite the world-wide recognition of the status of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as the spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians, the government of Turkey will give no legal standing and status to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the historical Holy Center of Orthodox Christianity at the Phanar, in Istanbul. The lack of legal standing and status in essence nullifies property and other fundamental civil rights in Turkey for the Ecumenical Patriarchate which precludes its full exercise of religious freedom.  The Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot own in its name the churches to serve the faithful or the cemeteries to provide for their repose. Since it lacks a legal standing, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is powerless to pursue legal remedies to assert property rights or even seek to repair deteriorating property without government approval.

Instead and in lieu of legal standing, Turkey has established a system of minority (community) foundations for Orthodox Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities to hold properties supervised and controlled by the Turkish government’s General Directorate of Foundations. The Directorate regulates all the activities of religious community foundations which include approximately 75 Greek Orthodox, 42 Armenian and 19 Jewish foundations. The 1935 Law on Religious Foundations, and a subsequent 1936 Decree, required all foundations, Muslim or non-Muslim, to declare their properties by registering the same with the General Directorate of Foundations. Read More


THE REAL ORIGINS OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT by Randall Balmer

This article is four years old, yet it remains as relevant today for Orthodox readers as when it first appeared in print. The quasi official alliance of the Orthodox Church in the USA with the social and political conservatism of right-wing Evangelicalism—see, for instance, the high profile Orthodox signatories of the questionable Manhattan Declaration of November 2009—continues to make for stranger and more unfortunate bedfellows with the passing of time. Case in point: see Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s extensive coverage of the rise of white supremacy and neo-Nazism (White Supremacy and Racism section in Archives by Authorin certain parishes, seminaries, and monasteries of the American Orthodox Church. The aggressive politicization of what should remain pastoral issues for us (abortion, same-sex marriage, et al.) creates an ecclesial climate in which too many overt racists and white supremacists find a natural home for themselves.

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6-year old Ruby Bridges being escorted to and from school (1960).

They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

Some of these anti-Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism. Read More


FAITH & SCIENCE: YOKEFELLOWS OR ANTAGONISTS? by Aidan Hart

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I have long been perplexed by the embarrassment that the contemporary scientific world feels towards religious faith. This is a recent phenomenon. History is full of believing scientists. There is an equally puzzling tendency for many religious people to view science either as a threat to faith, or—which is perhaps worse—to treat it as a completely separate realm of truth, with little relationship to faith. Certainly, the knowledge that comes from loving God (γνῶσις, gnosis) is distinct from the knowledge of science (ἐπιστήμη, episteme). The first is to know the living God through love, the second is to know about God’s creation. But since God created both the heart and the head they must be designed to work together in the service of His love.

For me personally, the study of God’s world and scientific discoveries is to breathe in the fragrance of Christ. Knowledge of this world makes me desire and seek its Creator even more. Each discovery is a footprint—not the Beloved Himself, but an imprint, and an imprint with a direction pointing towards Him.

And when we do follow the footprints and eventually meet and commune with Him who “made the stars also,” our mind is expanded. This in turn makes us more able to receive further scientific insight into the splendours of His world. Life with Christ is full of surprises. Beholding Him, we pass “from glory to glory.” This spiritual awareness that there will always be new realms in one’s spiritual life helps to keep the mind flexible, and therefore also open to new paradigms of science, both to learn them from others, and even to discover new things. A healthy faith feeds scientific discovery; it does not trammel it.

In this article I want to explore a more mutually positive view of the relationship of faith and science—with an emphasis on physics—a view that could benefit both science and our relationship with God. I am by no means suggesting an interference of one field in the other. Yet when I noticed the remarkable similarities between the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and trinitarian theology, and of relativity with other theological truths, I couldn’t help but think that, in future, some theological principles might just suggest to scientists a fresh way of looking at a particular scientific problem—not in a dogmatic or rigid way, but as a possible avenue to explore. A scholar friend has told me that this approach is called, broadly speaking, correlationism or correspondentism. Read More