Tuesday, October 16, 2007

From Bishop Ken Myers...

A Christian I admire posted this in a different blog. I am still thinking and praying about all it conveys. Yes...this is an old picture!!!!

I registered, but it wouldn't let me post under my registered name, so I'm doing it this way.

Shall I weigh in? Since it was an affront against my wife which was one of the central pieces of the San Clemente problem, perhaps I might make a couple of observations on the retirement of the Patriarch.

I went to the Patriarch's Council over a year ago asking the Patriarch to step down, for a variety of reasons. He said he would if the Council thought it best. They didn't. In a round the table poll, I was the only member asking for him to step down. Interestingly enough, many of them expressed to me "on the side" that Bishop Adler was "a mess", in deep personal crisis, unfit to truly lead, and I was promised that he was going to take "an extended sabbatical" during which he would release the reins of leadership.

A letter was drafted, insisting that there had been NO sexual harassment by the Patriarch. I was told, erroneously (and manipulatively) that if Shirley and I said there was sexual harassment it automatically became a "legal" issue and HAD to be addressed in a court of law. Not wanting it to become a legal matter, rather something dealt with in the context of the church, we refrained from the language of "sexual harassment" and said that there had been inappropriate behavior. This was spun into a strong categorical denial that there had been any sexual harassment charges leveled against Bishop Adler.

Later, one of the Patriarch's Council members told a priest, "We intentionally marginalized Myers". This man was someone I had counted a good friend and someone I had trusted. It was a deep cut.

Through much grief and pain, my diocese left the CEC a month later. We left in mass, but within a matter of months experienced fragmentation - some going to Orthodoxy, some going to Rome, some going to Bishop Zampino, some going to Bishop Fick. That experience was also very, very painful.

Now, a year later, Bishop Adler admits to his local congregation that he had been inappropriate toward the wife of a close friend (that means, Shirley, the wife of his close friend, Ken). Likewise, other allegations were brought forth, and are at least reported to have been admitted to.

Now, I receive emails from some of the priests who have left my fold (good men, I might add), saying, "if only this had happened" a year or so ago none of the fracturing of the CEC or of our diocese would have happened. Indeed.

So, you all must understand that it is with some measure of incredulity that I read the official report: Bishop Adler has retired. His retirement has been graciously accepted by the others and thanks offered for his years of service. Not a mention of the scandal. Not a mention of the sin. Not a word about having been wrong in previous decisions.

I recognize the need for civility, but I detest spin. Couldn't there have been even the simple admission that there were problems? That mistakes were made? That this wasn't just the giving of a man a golden watch at his retirement party? It all has a ring of hollowness to it.

I think what people really yearn for is honesty.

Those men who came to me privately saying, "Keep pressing the matter. Don't let up" but who refused to speak when I spoke; those men who said to me, "He's messed up" (but using language much stronger than "messed"), but refused to demand correction; those men who said privately to me, "He MUST step down" but who when polled said, "No"; those men who insisted that there was "no sexual harassment" but admitted to "marginalizing Myers" - will they make amends? Will they even dare say publicly that sins were committed and grievous mistakes were made?

That Bishop Adler has "retired" is a good thing. I still love him very much, miss him, and pray for him. I hope his life is brought into a good and godly balance and restored to a healthy place. And so now what, for those left in leadership? I love and respect Archbishop Woodall, who had the courage to write on this forum under his own name. I understand what he means when he writes, "For those of you who have left the CEC for whatever reason and have expressed your pain and anger, may God in His mercy begin the healing process in you which enables you to forgive those who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt you and to move on with your lives." I would simply suggest that "the healing process" is best accomplished when there is godly repentance by the offending party. I would suggest that a good start would have been Bishop Adler publicly asking forgiveness and particularly doing so directly to those he sinned against. A good continuance would be for the leadership of the CEC to not spin this as a retirement, but deal honestly with the matter and to perhaps, themselves, in a spirit of repentance, ask forgiveness of those many who have been devastated by the choices they have made (or failed to make) in the past - choices of publicly whitewashing rather than simply being honest.

Archbishop Woodall suggests that those who have been hurt, even intentionally, come to a place where they can "move on with your lives". We are moving on with our lives, Shirley and I. With a diocese that has completely exploded, with significant financial difficulties, with the struggles of moving forward in a new communion, with the personal pain of friendships lost and the abuse of authority figures - we are indeed moving on with our lives. It's just that such a moving on would be much easier if there were a little bit of genuine repentance and admittance of wrongdoing.

That's all I'm saying. Twelve Step stuff. Bible stuff.


Lord Jesus Christ son of God, have mercy on us...