A Spiritual Hospital For Sinners
(Clergy: Monks, Nuns, Priests and Bishops)
Priests without faculties? Vocations? Retreats?
(Updated: MAY 20, 2004)
By: +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D. - Metropolitan Archbishop
How can I truly examine and explain the meaning of "Church" without offending some? I am sure there will be some who will be greatly offended because of what is to be said, and to them I am truly sorry. Forgive me, I pray, for truth cannot be avoided.
The "Church" in this sense, means the faithful; both parishioners and clergy alike who are the "ecclesia". The true "Church" is not a four-cornered building. A temple of worship is actually called a "Temple".
The Holy Synod of the (original and true) AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH had come under attack on various private group lists even before April 2003, and since, most of which contain much error in what had been said concerning both our Metropolitan Archbishop and this jurisdiction of the One, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are truly sorry for the often times intentional (and sometimes unintentional) error of others whose claims leave a lot to be desired. And it is for them and you, the pious reader or visitor, that this particular article is written so that you may obtain a glimpse into truth, not error.
When we take a more microscopic look at what we know of the lives of the Apostles, the Saints, instead of the view which most churches or jurisdictions have cleaned up (antiseptic view), and the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ... we learn that he sat, drank and ate with detestable sinners of all kinds and types. Even the Apostles themselves were not the epitome of all the virtues which today's Church would deem proper if they were to come back in the flesh. Even the Saints, whose lives were not always the most "perfect," "clean," or epitome of sin-less-ness... had, at some point, come to the realization of their many faults, frailties and sins against God, Jesus Christ. Some of their sins which became known would cause grievous scandal in and outside the Church in these times in which we presently live. They overcame their many sins, their many faults and frailties and truly became what we today call "Strugglers" in this life for the life to come, which they obtained... Of that we can be assured.
There are so very many people and clergy of every stripe or degree today who love to look at the faults and frailties, the scandalous activities of others and those 'caught' in the act of so many sins of every kind and degree while themselves appearing, on the surface, as being the epitome of a 'righteous' person by giving the appearance of being a 'Churched' person who does no wrong!
Not a one of those who consider themselves as "Churched" or 'Church goers' would stand up to the microscopic examination of their consciousness, their very thoughts, even their actions of the past or present, for such would disclose much scandal to all who know them. No! No-one can stand up to such a microscopic examination for what goes on in private, let alone what goes on outside one's residence. God knows!
Clergy: Priests, Bishops, Nuns, Monks and all... could not stand up to the scrutiny as above suggested for all would be criticized and condemned too.
Yet, in this life we live... there are those of every vocation from Bishop, Priest, Pastor, Nun, Monk, Lawyer, Doctor, Judge, Law Enforcement person, truck driver, etc. whose lives could not stand the same scrutiny suggested ... but most, if not all of them, scrutinize anyone and practically everyone else who come across their threshold in the daily course of their lives, whether or not their duties and responsibilities require such scrutinizing of others. It is, in many instances where law enforcement is concerned; their duty or responsibility to scrutinize and even condemn others while they, themselves, are not scrutinized. It is a part of the body politick in society for these things to happen. It happened in the times of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and Saints... and it continues to happen in these times as it is a part of human nature for even 'governments' to take such an approach.
Society as a whole, and Civil Authorities high and low, have a God given duty to be responsible in a manner and fashion that does not go against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ if one is to consider themself, in their heart, as true Christians! But, yet, more often than not... along with the average self-professed "Christian" - - - they will offend the core of Christ's teachings in order to keep their employment with "Caesar" (so-to-speak) because Christ, Jesus, takes second and third place in their lives.
As to the apostles, the Saints, and their successors as well as those who serve as duly ordained priests and clergy under them:
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses, "Matt 6:14-15.Instead, far to many (while still calling themselves "Christian") would prefer to violate His Commandments by following the very thing forbidden,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also," (Matt. 5:38-39),and,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," (Matt. 5:43-49).and,
"Judge not, lest ye be not judged," (Matt. 7:1) holds true!
As said above, 'Protestants' (Especially Baptists, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Evangelicals, so-called 'Born Agains' and those of the Promise Keepers and I'm Saved groups, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Anglican, along with many Catholics of the "Roman" and the "Orthodox" churches, and even now we find that we must include those who follow the "Correctness Disease" of both the Eastern and Western Rite 'Orthodoxy' - - - most have become unable and incapable of adhering, practicing and believing in that which has been taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles; therefore having no right whatsoever to even call or consider themselves a Christian in spirit and truth.
St. John Maximovtich (Wonderworker) and his disciple Father Seraphim Rose, wrote and spoke much against this because it is the disease of the "Letter of the law" not the spirit of the law. This is all the more true of those who claim that they are either Orthodox, Old Catholic, Old Roman Catholic, most of those who claim they are 'Independent Catholic' and so very many more in these present times who are involved in the "Correctness Disease" that has become a part of syncretistic 'ecumenism' on-going today which is a heresy and an apostasy (turning from God, by their denying the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, professing and teaching Christ on one hand, but denying Him by their thoughts, words and action against those whom they denounce or becry as being against them). Those many actions have begun to reach a fever-pitch in these present times, an after affect of the Evil One under the auspices of synchrestic ecumenism.
On discussion with many of our Church clergy and faithful, I have come to a more personal attitude which I prefer to take concerning those who have erred, even those who have been imprisoned for right or wrong, than to take on one who is infected with the "Correctness Disease" of these modern times, a causative factor for the on-going synchrestic ecumenism on-going in these present times.
One who has lived, who has erred, even including those who have suffered imprisonment... who have come to true repentance in its fullest meaning, know that they will be less likely to achieve or succeed in society when it becomes known of their past. Yet, that too would be something of a mis-statement on my part because society is oft times quicker to forgive a murderer than to forgive one who has been convicted, rightly or wrongly, of (for example) a sex offense. The true Church, based on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, can make no distinction between one sin and that of another except the sin of "Apostasy" (the sin of denying, by action and/or word, the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ). That being true, I repeat... "society is oft times quicker to forgive a murderer than to forgive one who has been convicted, rightly or wrongly, of a sex offense" ... That does not mean to imply or claim that we prefer those who are habitual sex offenders for we do not! It is better to have one amongst us who has erred than to have one amongst us who is presented as being 'lilly-white' pure which is indicative of things hidden. But, there is a lesson here that must be examined in the privacy of one's own conscience. Examine it!
If you are a so-called "believer" and had done a horrible crime, going to your priest, you confessed your sin before him, who is the alter-ego of Christ, would you prefer he kept to his vows to God or to give in to the law of man whereby you would end up in prison? Would you do your "Christian" duty and confess the sin to man (court of law)? Or, as most would do, confess to the priest without confessing to man the crime you did? In many instances, the later is more true. Would you prefer the priest keep his vows to God (Seals of the Confessional) or to the laws of man? Recognize and realize that in many instances, the priest could suffer the sentence that your crime mandates if he protects the Seals of the Confessional. Yet, recognizing truth... it is also necessary to understand the fullness of what "Seals of the Confessional" and "Forgiveness" means.. For in the balance is weighed the worth of a true priest.....
I would rather we accept those in this spiritual hospital, the Church, who have erred than to take in one who is "lilly-white-pure". For the one who has lived and erred, like the saints, if they are truly repentant; are more likely to accept a spiritual father's advice, correction and direction and become a great one in the Church for the needs of the people. As an example, we can illustrate this action in today's present society.
In many a City, County, State and Federal agency for helping those who have drug and alcohol problems, the very one's who do the helping are becoming, more and more, those who have gone through the experience and know the problems associated with the issues. Many of those same social workers were, at one time, the client. When they overcame their addiction, received treatment, they went on in life and obtained training and education. They were, after accreditation, accepted for "official" standing as a "social worker" - some becoming psychologists who have specialized in those areas of their former fall in life.
The above example is just one of many others. The various types of persons and personalities or people who have erred and truly repented, are prime examples of clergy who, when having erred, are supposed to be FORGIVEN not only by society, but by the Church herself, thus being returned to their former status and position if the Church or jurisdiction is true to the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ; while also providing for certain restrictions or limitations until a 'track' record is built wherein 'trust' (because of civil law) can be used as proof of full and complete rehabilitation and cause for TRUST to be re-instilled.
Clergy of every kind, when they have erred, must be given the same and equal rights without any equivocation whatsoever.
To these ends I shall endeavor... and thus, those of you who may fit this picture... we invite you to explore, examine and decide to continue in your ministry as a true Orthodox Catholic Christians in the vineyard of Jesus Christ.... For those of you who have never before been involved in Church life... come... find.... help others through study, through belief, through prayer, through repentance...
While we seek men and women for vocations, we prefer those who know they are sinners and are not afraid to say, "Yes! I have lived and experienced life in the World and am now willing to take the next step to be closer to Our Lord and Savior. Yes, I am willing to give myself over to Jesus Christ and lay down my life for Him and His children at whatever costs it may be." This kind of person would indeed be taking much upon themselves, but much is given by Our Lord for those who do. In this life, even as a Monk, Nun, Deacon, Priest or Bishop in the true American Orthodox Church, spiritual and material struggle will be evidenced and experienced to a degree that is not for the faint hearted.
Our life, and living, along with our program for teaching and training is not for the light or faint hearted regardless of whatever level, degree or lack of formal education one may have had.
The International Headquarters of the American Orthodox Church has been established in New Mexico where one may come to gain an environmental surrounding similar to that of the Desert Fathers where the hub-bub of society's more well traveled 'city life' is lessened.
Even though the Western Orthodox Theological Institute (WOTI) is the successor to the "St. John Chrysostom University" owned, by right of succession and mandate which had been formerly closed in the 1970's, will be re-opening as an on site campus setting in due time.
Although the Western Orthodox Church of America (WOCA) is one of the offshoots of St. John Chrysostom University, not being as active or of the degree of its former self under the now reposed Archbishop David Luther and the reposed Archbishop Jerome Joachim, the American Orthodox Church (AOC) and Western Orthodox Theological Institute (WOTI) are committed to bringing about such that will provide for all Orthodox Catholic Churches to prepare their people for the clergy ranks.
If you are already ordained clergy, be sure you are committed to the faith. Adherence to the Seven Oecumenical Councils and patristic Fathers is a necessity. Abiding by the understandings and what it means to protect the Seals of the Confessional, although hidden, is actually bound up in and with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as covered in the New Testament. If you are not a proponent of protecting, guarding and guiding faithful in that which is truly Orthodox and Catholic, then do not apply for either acceptance or incardination for you will have joined in and with those things more Protestant and un-canonical, having condemned yourselves as not being either a true priest of Jesus Christ!
Take a glimpse into the basics of what constitutes the steps in a Holy Order for Monks and Nuns.
+Joseph Thaddeus, O.S.B., SSJt., Ph.D.
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From Our Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot and Primate, +Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
A Fool For Christ who believes
"Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater"
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It is understood, according to information and belief, that three of his/her/their websites may have been closed by former service providers due to complaints against him/them for internet terrorism, spewing "hate" and causing for an individual whom he/they discuss, to be exposed to potential physical harm which happened in the early part of the 2005 when they thought themselves wise in their own conceit, for things of more than 13 years in the past. What part of "Hate" - "Exposing another to threats of losing life" - "Internet Terrorism" does he/they not understand? Now, under other domain names, the same/similar hate messages re-occur against the same individual.
We find them to be un-orthodox and un-Christian in spirit and truth for they continue to argue things of the past that is not a part of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, and (in fact) go against the very commandments of Jesus Christ! And those who do such are, it is opined upon investigation and in most instances, the very one(s) who had been or are under ban as excommunicated individuals posing as duly ordained clergy who had been a part of this jurisdiction (and so many numerous others) in times past.
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Because this is a highly Protestant Country in which we live, having an effect upon the laws of the land, we should know something of what is on-going and where efforts by those denominations may affect and have a intrinsic effect on our very laws, for such does have an effect upon our daily lives as Orthodox Catholic Christians.
If one is not cognizant of the real events happening both locally and in the world, although many are removed from the world... one will not know what to expect or what to do, or how one can or cannot act which might betray one's faith and accrue the wrath of civil authorities as laws change. Yet, we are also reminded that these things must happen and it was for that which there exists many early Christian Martyrs and Saints.
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Remember, not all Protestants, especially hard core cultic groups such as "Charismatic" - "Evangelical" and other people are not so generous in their viciousness toward anyone and anything that appears "Catholic" whether of the Roman or Orthodox jurisdictions, for they do not know or want to learn that which makes them "different" in their walk and talk as being far from the roots of Christianity.
Remember, it is the Roman jurisdiction which has more outwardly shown that it can be one of the most vicious toward those who are not Roman but are very much "Catholic" - for the sun and moon does not rise and set on the Vatican (Latin or Roman) jurisdiction as to who is or is not "Catholic" for the Roman jurisdiction split (schismed) from the roots of "Catholicism" which is founded in what is termed and called today as "Orthodoxy".
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+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”
A Curse or a Blessing? Depending on to whom it may...
Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ. The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...
The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption! It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".
"It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)
One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand? Are you a complacent person? In light of the saying, examine yourself! You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!
tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came,
but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."
St. Mark the Ascetic.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
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