Friday, April 27, 2012

Church Discipline and Pastoral Practice

Over at Byzantine Texas there is a post up on recent developments in the Orthodox Church here in N. America that in my opinion is worth taking note of.  See here.  The problem of often sharply differing disciplines on a wide range of pastoral subjects is one of the byproducts of our balkanized jurisdictionalism here in the United States and Canada.  I don't obsess over uniformity the way Catholics tend to.  But the degree of divergence in practice, and the abuses that the current system is susceptible to, are a legitimate problem.  If they accomplish little else, the Bishop's Assembly will have done a great service for the church if they can get that mess under some sort of control.


Subdeacon David Gould said...

In Australia we see the absolute anomaly of sometimes hundreds of Greek Orthodox going for communion, often arriving just before communion, without confession, often without appropriate dress, lipstick etc. It seems like economia gone too far, and none of it supports reverence and preparation for Holy Communion. Our local Greek senior pastor is actively seeking to get people to use the sacrament of confession, but it is pushing a barrow up against a cultural mind shift of a generation ago.

Tawser said...

I was received into the Orthodox Church in a Greek parish, and there were no regular times for confession, not even at Vespers. Every other Orthodox church I've ever attended offered confession at Vespers. What is the historical background to this? I found it very confusing. We had one convert priest who would preach about the importance of confession. Everyone in the congregation would nod their head and then ignore him.

The paradox of Orthodoxy in practice is that it strikes me as quite individualistic. Everyone gives lip service to the canons, but then does his own thing. Part of the problem I suspect is that there are too few priests and monks for most people to receive meaningful spiritual direction. But instead of addressing the problem, the strategy in most places seem to be just to ignore it.