The Bishops Have Spoken, Sort of

So all of the Orthodox Patriarchs, or their representatives have been meeting at the Phanar in Istanbul, Turkey. The heads of 14 Orthodox Churches were in attendance. They commented twice in their statement about the current world financial crisis. Well I guess it is a response, it is pretty lame if you ask me. I will put the two quotes below and a link to the entire document so you can read for yourself.

8. The gap between rich and poor is growing dramatically due to the financial crisis, usually the result of manic profiteering by economic factors and corrupt financial activity, which, by lacking an anthropological dimension and sensitivity, does not ultimately serve the real needs of mankind. A viable economy is that which combines efficacy with justice and social solidarity.

10. The Orthodox Church believes that technological and economic progress should not lead to the destruction of the environment and the exhaustion of natural resources. Greed to satisfy material desires leads to the impoverishment of the human soul and the environment. We must not forget that the natural riches of theearth are not only man’s property, but primarily God’s creation: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein” (Ps.23:1). We ought to remember that not only today’s generation, but also future generations are entitled to have a right to the resources of nature, which the Creator has granted us.

I often wonder in cases like this if they have the statement all drawn up before they even meet. That would seem the case here. These bishops are so out of touch with reality! It will take some time to read the statement in it’s full measure and comment on it. Here is the link to the entire document.


  1. They certainly do seem to be out of touch with reality. But then again, what can you expect? ISTM bishops live a rather insular life, free of the concerns that most of us have. They cannot comfort or lead us from an ivory tower.

  2. Fr. P.: “The ever growing confusion of our times” an understatement. What is needed is “divine intervention”. We are lost, in our social ways,(the sacrament of marriage),the scientific testings leading the way to abominations,the misuse of our ecosystem, and can we stop greed? Is their hope for humankind, outside of the second and Glorious second coming? Have we gone too far?

  3. From the discussions I’ve had with folks involved with meetings like this, it is normally the case that statements are drafted beforehand. They are often, however, edited both before and during the meetings in accordance with the responses of those being asked to sign them.

    This is something of a logistical necessity, since usually such meetings are only a few days long, while drafting and negotiating such statements can take a lot more time.

    I’m afraid the days are gone when we have councils of bishops lasting months and years.

  4. Caldonia,

    Just one remark: There are bishops, and there are bishops. Some do indeed live in ivory towers. Mine, by contrast, lives in an endless stream of hotels rooms and with endless hours on his cellphone and email as he maintains constant contact and visitation with all his parishes throughout the diocese.

    I’ve meet few pastors who pour themselves out the way mine does. He doesn’t publish big statements for all the world to see, but he keeps constant watch over his flock and ministers to them at all hours of the day and night.

    As one of his assistants, I’m in a good position to know pretty minute details of his life. He lives a life far from comfort and insularity.

    So, we should be careful about blanket statements.

  5. i guess your dealing with bishops who are used to living in socialist countries they do not understand capitalism and democracy.linda

  6. Fr. Andrew,

    Most of us do not have the same view of bishops as you do and that is unfortunate. We use blanket statements because the vast number of our bishops are so out of touch with the real world they would not know what to say even if they had the inclination to make a statement. You bishop, and I know his, is truly a blessing and you are indeed lucky to have him. But the bishops of the Orthodox Church need to be heard! They need to speak to their flocks and the world. We are waiting!

  7. For what it’s worth: could it be that this is a problem across the Church as a whole, not just across one part?

    It is wonderful to hear about bishops who do what they were ordained for – to be a shepherd. To actually *LEAD*! That said, it seems that there are many who indeed do not, or can not, for whatever reason. And I don’t think this is a problem limited to Orthodox bishops. Look around at the different parts of the Church, and I suspect much the same could be said about Catholic bishops, Episcopal or Lutheran bishops, or just about any other leadership body within the Christian world.

    Unfortunately, this is a limitation of our humanity, and there are many – especially those in positions of leadership or authority – who have not figured out how to find their way out of that so-called Ivory Tower. And it’s sad.

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