On George Michalopulos’ site, Monomakhos, readers have been arguing about yet another confusing and boring topic involving ecclesial politics in the O.C.A. I sometimes attempt to follow these discussions for the interesting tangents that appear in the threads. Just so, comments in the recent post about Bishop Melchizedek referred to the Pokrov crew. Pokrov is a web site that publicizes accusations of clerical impropriety. It claims to be “a resource for survivors of abuse in the Orthodox Church.” Though such a ministry seems beneficial, the witch hunting tendencies of Pokrov remind me of the politically ambitious district attorneys who ginned up sexual abuse cases against the childcare industry decades ago in order to appear as protectors of the people. Commentator Helga wrote:
My experience of reading “Pokrov” is that they are attention-seekers who feed off of strife and upheaval. . . .
Also, Pokrov seems to glory in creating scandal where none exists . . .
My friend Andrew coined the condition that the Pokrov women suffer “moral greed.” It consists in eagerly anticipating scandal so that one may exercise outrage and disgust. For it is in railing against whatever abuse or “social injustice” the morally greedy encounter that they find their happiness and self actualization. It is Manicheism for the Lifetime Channel, though the fastidiousness of these righteous ones curiously only applies to a narrow spectrum of proper behavior. The hypocrisy and prelest of the Puritans of yore have been passed down to their post-Christian heirs who manifest that old hallowed sanctimony in The Vagina Monologues, Shantytowns, and P.E.T.A. antics. With Pokrov, it is not as bad. The Pokrovettes are more like Nancy Grace in a Russian shawl.
Lusting after power and prestige has often accompanied social reformers and crusaders for progress, from the Gracchi to that patchouli smelly girl on campus who refuses to shave her armpits lest she capitulate to the phallocracy. Whether these folks pander to the masses or score self righteous street cred among fellow radicals, many who claim to seek the betterment of mankind are simply competing for status and gain among their peculiar peers. Even a brief sojourn with leftist activists will teach you all that you need to know about the character type. True love of virtue and true charity for mankind are much rarer, and the bearers of such qualities typically improve the world without making their chief focus the shortcomings of everyone else.
There is obviously a need for muckraking in this fallen world, and the weak will always require champions on their behalf. However, there is a temptation that follows such good work, wherein one aquires a taste for righteous indignation and thereafter greedily sets off in search of offenses to fight and victims to protect. As such, we should be thankful for the good work that Pokrov has done. We must not tolerate clerical abuse. Consider the Roman Church’s problems from the past few generations; disease was allowed to fester, and the rot damaged many lives. A “watchdog” for clerical abuse performs a good service for the Church. However, the overreach and hysteria of Pokrov demonstrate that even well intentioned paths might lead to peril. There are predatory clerics, but there are also predatory laymen who realize what power they can wield through false accusations. Pokrov enthusiastically enables such folks, and their mission may have perverted them by making them hostile to traditional hierarchy and authority in the Church. They label Orthodox monasticism cultish, and they have whored themselves out to modernists who despise traditional Orthodox praxis and doctrine.
In the midst of those who truly labor for justice there is a mighty crowd of busybodies who have discovered a guise for their vice that earns them praise, respect, and money. Among them are mediocre, passive aggressive souls who nevertheless seek status and dominion over others. They lack the typical traits of leadership that result in such, but they have tasted a parasitic form of power by bringing down the exalted and proud. And they hunger for more. They are the high priestesses of slave morality.