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Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Plan

I'm still fuming from an incident that I was just made aware of a few days ago: a catechumen was refused Baptism into the Orthodox Church by a local priest because of the catechumen's membership in Alcoholics Anonymous.  To be clear, this is an exceedingly rare case, but one that comes from the rather scattered nature of the Church here in the US, with priests out in the outlying areas sometimes forgetting that they are part of a larger Church.

After I cooled down, I started to think about how this can be prevented.  One of the contributing factors here is that AA is an accepted norm in America, so much so that the Church really has not had to 'weigh in' on the topic.  That's not to say that Orthodox Bishops and other clergymen have not made some comments about AA and the 12 Steps.  

Here are some examples:

Of course, I've posted before on the Romanian Orthodox Church's formal adoption of the 12 Steps and its work to get AA, NA, and other groups set up throughout Romania:

However, since there are still a few guys out there in the forest who have not gotten the message, I've made a decision: I'm going to try to get official statements from as many Orthodox Synods as I can confirming that AA and the 12 Steps are acceptable for and compatible with Orthodox Christianity.  Hopefully, by doing this, we can bring the message home to countless Orthodox clergy and laity who are wondering about the Church's take on AA.

This is where you, the reader, comes in: would you like to help?

I think it would be very helpful to have as many people as possible writing the various Holy Synods to press for official statements.  In some cases, we could use people with foreign language skills.  If you can help translate letters into Greek, Arabic, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Georgian, Czech, Polish, Finnish... am I missing anyone?  Hopefully, we can get the various Synods to say something at their regular meetings.

If you would like to help, please email me.

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