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Orthodox church at the gates of purgatory
Press Europe ^ | November 9th 2011 | Romānia libera

Posted on 11/09/2011 9:49:28 AM PST by Cardhu

In Bucharest and in Athens, the exacerbation of the economic crisis has undermined public tolerance for the privileges enjoyed by the Orthodox Church. If things do not change, warns România Libera, the organisation runs the risk of paying a heavy cultural tribute.

Laurentiu Mihu

With each passing day, the crisis that has swept across Europe has thrown into question not only the capacity of states to maintain a minimum of solvency, but also the philosophy that has provided the basis for the social and economic system since the Second World War.

Established ideologies are no longer in tune with current realities and their adjustment to accommodate these realities appears increasingly difficult. It is in this context that the economic crisis has not only heralded the end of public debt and the bankruptcy of the principles that made it possible, but it has also marked the end of certain taboos.

Consider, for example the Greek and Romanian Orthodox Churches, and the provocative attitudes displayed by both of these entities. For several months, the impudence of high-ranking members of the clergy in Athens and Thessaloniki has known no bounds, now that the lost sheep demonstrating in the streets have begun to focus their attention not only on the rejection of austerity packages, but also on the redistribution of wealth and in particular the wealth of the Orthodox Church, which has never been evaluated [the Orthodox Churches in both Greece and Romania do not pay taxes and benefit from a certain number of privileges].

It is regrettable that the pressure on the higher echelons of the Greek clergy has not been instigated by public debate, but is rather the result of an outburst of rage prompted by extreme social and economic circumstances – and this observation also applies to the Romanian Church – because this has been used to justify the cynical and curt response of the ecclesiastical hierarchy which has no qualms about dismissing those voices from civil society which have yielded to the sin of questioning its prerogatives.

An economic crisis paving the way for a cultural clash

But as the economic situation has become more problematic – and “problematic” is most certainly a euphemism with regard to Greece – the possibility of a successful campaign against the lack of transparency and autism of Churches along with the arrogance of their representatives and the distant standpoint from which they view the rest of society has become increasingly likely.

Until recently, indignation was focused on the finances of the Church, but now its political and social influence could become the target for popular opprobrium prompted by the crisis. History has shown that the Church has often developed in parallel to society, perhaps because it feels submerged in its permanent position on the border between the transcendent and immanent worlds.

Nonetheless, in the wake of the major scientific discoveries and cultural shifts of the last century, the Church, notwithstanding its overwhelming cultural influence, was forced to accept its aggiornamento. This acceptance was not based on conviction or principle, but simply a survival strategy. In other words, adapted even it did so slowly – and in some cases very slowly. But will it now consent to a further adaptation that is necessary, and even more than necessary?

At this stage, the crisis in Europe is largely viewed as an economic one. But this is only an initial phase that will pave the way for a cultural clash. Those who do not anticipate such an eventuality do so erroneously, and those who believe that they can predict its scope are more than likely also beguiled by illusions.


TOPICS: Orthodox Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: greece; orthodox; romania
A cathedral being built “At a cost of 120 million euros, the building will be completed in 2015”, points out România liberă, which reports that no less than “4,000 other churches have been constructed over the last 20 years”. Arguing that this is clear evidence of the BOR’s “social autism”, Adevarul warns that if the institution does not change “it will rot like a fish, with the head going putrid first”.
1 posted on 11/09/2011 9:49:32 AM PST by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu
"the Orthodox Churches in both Greece and Romania do not pay taxes and benefit from a certain number of privileges"

Name any religious organization that pays taxes here in the US?

2 posted on 11/09/2011 9:52:29 AM PST by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: montyspython

I do nor there is any place where religious organizations pay taxes


3 posted on 11/09/2011 10:08:11 AM PST by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu

Please forgive me but I am not understanding your point or the point of this article.


4 posted on 11/09/2011 10:10:34 AM PST by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: Cardhu

“History has shown...”

Translation: “I’m pulling this out of my orifice.”


5 posted on 11/09/2011 10:18:05 AM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: montyspython

The point of the article is that Romania and Greece are in dire financial straits and they believe the Orthodox Church is not exercising the restrain that all the other citizens and organization have to contend with.

While the Romanians and the Greeks have to tighten their belts the Orthodox Church is spending like a drunken sailor and leaving the charity work to NGOs.


6 posted on 11/09/2011 10:18:27 AM PST by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu

Is it the Church’s fault that the government is inept at handling its economic affairs? The Church does not get its revenue from public taxes so how can this article go off and tell the Church how it should be spend its money?

Since when does the Church work for the State?


7 posted on 11/09/2011 10:30:50 AM PST by montyspython (This thread needs more cowbell)
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To: Cardhu
In Bucharest and in Athens, the exacerbation of the economic crisis has undermined public tolerance for the privileges enjoyed by the Orthodox Church. If things do not change, warns România Libera, the organisation runs the risk of paying a heavy cultural tribute....

....Consider, for example the Greek and Romanian Orthodox Churches, and the provocative attitudes displayed by both of these entities. For several months, the impudence of high-ranking members of the clergy in Athens and Thessaloniki has known no bounds, now that the lost sheep demonstrating in the streets have begun to focus their attention not only on the rejection of austerity packages, but also on the redistribution of wealth and in particular the wealth of the Orthodox Church, which has never been evaluated [the Orthodox Churches in both Greece and Romania do not pay taxes and benefit from a certain number of privileges].

It is regrettable that the pressure on the higher echelons of the Greek clergy has not been instigated by public debate, but is rather the result of an outburst of rage prompted by extreme social and economic circumstances – and this observation also applies to the Romanian Church – because this has been used to justify the cynical and curt response of the ecclesiastical hierarchy which has no qualms about dismissing those voices from civil society which have yielded to the sin of questioning its prerogatives.

Interesting. One might say that the Orthodox brought it upon themselves.

A new European Central Bank study has also found that Catholics are more likely to favour sharing wealth and to support government intervention in the economy than are Protestants.....

[Max Weber] ....noted that societies which had more Protestants had a more highly developed capitalist economy and that, in societies with different religions, the most successful business leaders were Protestant. Weber also argued that Catholicism impeded the development of capitalism in the West, as did Confucianism and Buddhism in the East...."...relative to Roman Catholicism, Reformed Protestantism has curbed preferences for redistribution and for government intervention in the economy.”
-- from the thread Catholics 'more likely to back state economic intervention' [European Central Bank study]

"Since the origins of modern capitalism around 1780, more than two-thirds of the world’s population has moved out of poverty. In China and India alone, more than 500 million have been raised out of poverty just in the last forty years. In almost every nation the average age of mortality has risen dramatically, causing populations to expand accordingly. Health in almost every dimension has been improved, and literacy has been carried to remote places it never reached before.
Whatever the motives of individuals, the system has improved the plight of the poor as none ever has before. The contemporary left systematically refuses to face these undeniable facts."
-- Robert Novak, from the thread Economic Heresies of the Left (Novak on Caritas in Veritate)
Despite what one might think, economics is not morally or theologically neutral. Every business action supports a certain economic paradigm and in doing so, supports a certain and specific theology. Every businessperson needs to understand that taking a specific economic position gives insight into your view of theology, morality and God. These insights must be addressed because it will affect how you run your business....For a business owner, it could be whether you maximize your profits or how you compensate your employees, issues like that....Economics is certainly not morally or theologically neutral. To take a stance as a Marxist, Keynesian, or an Adam Smith Capitalist reveals insight into your view of man, God and redemption....
....These truths are not the same as capitalism. Yet capitalism is the one economic paradigm that is most congruent with Calvin’s teachings and the Biblical economic “truths” I mentioned....Calvin believed wealth cannot be evil because God chooses to bless some with wealth. But, whether wealthy or poor, Calvin and the Bible exhort us to be content with our economic positions in life and to live a life following his word, not chasing after wealth....People who think of Calvin as equating material prosperity with eternal destiny are misreading him. But if someone is in difficulty, then maybe that is where that person needs to be in this life for the sake of his eternal life. That may be an expression of God’s will.
-- from the thread How theology ties into economics

8 posted on 11/09/2011 12:20:12 PM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Cardhu

Sounds like former Communists dreaming of their glory days.


9 posted on 11/09/2011 5:33:06 PM PST by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: montyspython
Since when does the Church work for the State?

Do you not understand? Everyone works for the State!

10 posted on 11/09/2011 5:51:44 PM PST by Petrosius
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To: Cardhu

If the church quit preaching that not tithing will send you to hell and you are cursed then the people would have more money. The NT does not teach tithing but giving what the HS promps the person to do out of free will.


11 posted on 11/10/2011 5:18:01 PM PST by guitarplayer1953 (Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to GOD! Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Cardhu

Historically, the state churches have been a source of inspiration and spiritual support during hard times. Just look at all the cathedrals in Europe and where the money came from to build them. I don’t think most Europeans would vote to tear them down today. They are huge source of pride for a country, as well...cultural landmarks. It’s true, religious organizations worldwide don’t pay taxes, so the Orthodox Church doesn’t either, as the Catholic Church doesn’t, and I guarantee you the Catholic Church has far more money than the Orthodox Church does. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was built largely on the backs of the people who paid indulgences to fund it. No one today would ever think of complaining about it. This whole issue smacks of jealousy and sour grapes on the part of Romanians and Greeks, possibly pushed by anti-Christian groups who can never find anything good in Christianity.


12 posted on 11/24/2011 8:28:20 AM PST by EURASLEEP (Europe is Crashing and They're Asleep at the Wheel)
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