IN our November issue, we published a piece entitled “Opulent Archbishop” in the column “Happenings,” noting a “nice” statement written by Archbishop Demetrios in his message to the faithful regarding the Archdiocese’s financial situation: “…keeping in mind that we are the voice of Christ…” We added that this means that “we do as we please and you can protest all you like.”
The Archbishop’s words have been haunting me ever since. Is Archbishop Demetrios the “voice of Christ” or the expositor of Christ’s wonderful teachings? Is he, as well as the Pope and the rest of the leaders of the other Christian Churches and the countless bishops from various denominations “the voice of Christ”?
This might sound like blasphemy. It’s one thing to teach and interpret Christ’s message of salvation and another to indirectly accept that the prelates—among them numerous sinners, liars, embezzlers, sexual deviants, child molesters, and promiscuous men of all sorts—are “the voice of Christ.”
This is the sort of claim that the mindset of infallibility is founded upon. It shapes the attitude that we can do as we please and remain in power since the faithful, who have to deal with everyday problems facing their families and the daily struggle to make ends meet, don’t have the time, or energy, to read long-winded and shallow sermons and messages from their religious leaders. They continue going to church even when they find out that their priest has sexual relations with his secretary or some parishioner, or that he sexually harasses women and children.
This boundless tolerance is reminiscent of President Trump, who more than once boasted that even if he were to come down from his tower on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, his supporters would remain faithfully by his side.
Something similar is happening with religious leaders. They don’t feel that their image is tarnished or that they are losing the trust and respect of the faithful, as is the case with politicians. The latter can be replaced by the people, but the leaders of the Church remain in their posts unchecked, enjoying immunity and impunity.