Sects criticise us: ‘You have joined ‘World Orthodoxy’ and so compromised yourself with worldly people’.
Our task is to gather in before the end with compassion. And we say ‘before the end’, for we have no illusions about the direction of the times in which we live. All the more reason therefore for not hiding away in ghettos and making compassionless demands like the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers. ‘But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves’ (Matt 23, 13 and 15). ‘Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers’ (Lk 11,46).
Sects criticise us: ‘You have cut corners and broken the canons’.
We call on the world to adapt to the Church; the Church does not adapt to the world. In what way have we cut corners and broken the canons in our mission to the world before the end? We have not undertaken to ordain a host of divorced men or men with divorced wives as priests (or sometimes twice divorced men, a practice favoured only by ‘Parisians’ such as the late Metr Antony Bloom or the retired Archbp Gabriel de Vylder). We have not compromised ourselves by praying with heretics. The canons are certainly to be followed, but not slavishly, in idolatry. Sometimes we have to consider the greater good. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone’ (Matt 23, 23).
Sects criticise us: ‘You have contaminated yourself by not ‘walling yourselves off’ from the compromised’.
We already know that we are imperfect. But we do not seek perfection in others. That is an error. We seek perfection only in ourselves, not in others. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’ (Matt. 5, 48). Those who make compromises and take part in ecumenism, compromising the integrity of the Faith in religious syncretism do not contaminate us. They will have to answer at the Judgement for their compromises. We will have to answer only for our own conduct, not for the conduct of others.