"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, June 21, 2019

On Reforming Diocesan Boundaries and Structures

I was at the twenty-third Orientale Lumen conference in Washington this past week. Capably organized as ever by the indefatigable and ever-generous Jack Figel, its sessions were moderated this year by my friend Will Cohen, author of The Concept of Sister Churches in Orthodox-Catholic Relations Since Vatican II.

Fascinating papers were given by several people, including Anastacia Wooden, whose work on Afanasiev I noted here; by Hyacinthe Destivelle, whose book The Moscow Council has been widely read; and by my friend and co-editor Daniel Galadza, author of Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem, which is, he tells us, coming out in December in a much more affordable paperback edition.

I too gave a paper--this year's theme was on the old notion of "One Bishop to One City?"--and I drew on my new book Everything Hidden Shall Be Revealed: Ridding the Church of Abuses of Sex and Power, in which my last chapter talks about restructuring dioceses, especially in the Latin Church, so that they are no longer huge corporations with archbishops, junior vice-presidents called "auxiliary bishops," and massive, dehumanized bureaucracy spending millions to hide abuse and abusers--and to hide the slush fund abusive bishops use for booze, flowers, and rent-boys.

It was, as ever, a good conference even if for many people today this whole ecumenical venture seems increasingly ignored by the vast majority of Christians. In my experience, dating back to 1991 in Australia, it has always been that way, alas.

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