Statement of the Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Syndesmos
At the 2013 Clergy Laity Assembly, currently being held in Sioux City, IA, the following statement was adopted with unanimous consent by the Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Syndesmos.
With our spiritual father and hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos, our Chancellor, His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the (undersigned) Clergy Syndesmos of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago stand together to deplore the use of public media outlets as a means of handling internal issues and conflicts that confront the Church.
We caution all by the words of our Lord: “Do not judge by appearances” (John 7:24). Portrayals by the media of conflicts and issues of concern to the Church often neglect to present all facts and proper context. Such portrayals are sadly becoming more common. However, our greater concern is that members of the Church not mistake the ways of the world with the ideals of Christian conduct. Recourse to influencing public opinion rather than a patient determination of truth is too often self-serving and obviously biased.
We regret that professional media outlets, often at the instigation of involved parties, would report incomplete and one-sided information, or present possibilities as truth. We especially object to the use of the media—in print, broadcast or online—to attack or injure anyone. We object always to gossip and unfounded speculation. Such are inappropriate for Christians in any situation.
We recall the words of Saint Paul, “If then you have such cases why do you lay them before those are least esteemed by the Church?” (1 Corinthians 6:4) Directed against any of our sisters and brothers in Christ, such appeals by Christians to the court of public opinion rather than responsible authorities damage not only person’s lives but the very integrity of the Body of Christ. We recall the words of Saint Basil the Great, “Christians, on account of the scandals that they cause to non-believers, will have to give account also for their perdition…” (On Baptism)
We pray that all Christians, and all persons of good will, will cease from using the media to advance personal agendas at the expense of others, both within and beyond the Church.