Posted on September 24th, 2009
In July 2009 at the Antiochian 49th Annual Archdiocesan Convention, Metropolitan Philip spoke in defense of Bishop Demetri Matta Khoury. +Demetri is a convicted felon and registered sex offender whom the Antiochian Archdiocese continues to fund, thereby enabling him to remain in a position of trust.
In the heated discussions which have erupted on this topic, we find several fundamental questions at play:
- Should Christians unconditionally obey our church leaders?
- Should Christians remain silent when church leaders lead us astray?
- Should Christians judge others?
- Should a sex offender remain a bishop?
I will make the case that the Faithful have a moral responsibility to hold +Philip and other church leaders accountable to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse. I will also show that this issue is not an isolated incident. Beyond the issue of Bishop Demetri, there is a troubling culture in the Antiochian Church which shuffles around abusive priests and remains silent while sexual predators remain in positions of trust. Lastly, I will show that enabling a sexually abusive priest makes one just as guilty as the abuser.
First, a summary of the +Demetri controversy and +Philip’s recent response.