Sad reaction to a sad conundrum

The degeneration of news bulletins and informative programs into populist TV shows is certainly nothing new. We have seen the emergence of this spectacle of bad taste over the past few years as such shows have gradually elbowed the real news aside. More recently, with the scandal allegations against the Church, the greedy denizens of television windows went a step too far. The mix, it seems, has been simply too tempting to resist: money, sex, judges, secret agents and priests. This is not the first time the Church has been jolted by scandals; this time, however, the numerous and often brazen sins committed by clergymen have threatened irreparable damage to the institution. Their scandalous behavior has been accompanied by mutual denunciations and blows beneath the belt. It is even more shocking how easily clerics have resorted to nefarious means to achieve their goals. The burgeoning corruption and gay sex scandal allegations plaguing the Church have tarnished the image of the clergy and at the same time rendered it highly vulnerable to the public. The Church’s embarrassing ineptitude in cleaning up its act paves the way for a kind of journalism that often borders on human rights violations. The archbishop ought to have shouldered his full share of responsibility and taken quick steps to purge the Orthodox Church of corruption. Instead, he shirked all self-criticism and took refuge behind hollow stereotypes, claiming that he and the Church are being targeted by sinister forces. The Holy Synod has been dangerously lackadaisical toward the shower of revelations. It should have given a convincing response. A responsible reaction would have been a far cry from the sad image of a daily clerics’ parade on cheap TV shows. By participating in discussions that aim to create an impression rather than shed light on the truth, the bishops and head monks are doing little to protect the Church. They are effectively contributing to the televised consumption of a serious affair and, at the same time, taint their own image and by extension the Hierarchy’s. The problem is not solved by neglect. This issue is about respecting oneself and the institution that one is expected to serve.

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