19 March 2005

Church scandal

North American churches have seen their share of scandals in recent years, especially the Roman Catholic Church. But what is happening now in the Orthodox Church of Greece makes these look like mere missteps in comparison. If even half the allegations are true, then the church desperately needs thoroughgoing reform. And some very high ecclesiastics could wind up in jail.

Perhaps the solution would be to cancel the autocephaly of the Church of Greece and subordinate it once again to the Ecumenical Patriarch. National churches tend to become insular and thus unaccountable to the rest of the church. However, the Orthodox Church in Turkey, over which the Patriarch presides, is in difficult circumstances, as indicated in this Helsinki Commission briefing which took place three days ago. Perhaps Turkey's efforts to enter the European Union will prompt it to clean up its act and protect the religious freedom of its citizens.

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