Let's take a look at these one-by-one.
- The best way to protect the priesthood is to have a very high standard for even going to seminary. History in this country has shown us that when a bishop approves every Tom, Dick, and Harry to go to seminary that SOMEONE is going to pick that man up for ordination. And, my goodness, have we had some doozies get ordained and call all manner of chaos in parishes and online.
- A very fair rule of thumb here. If your name is Christian, just stick with it. I'll also add, parents, if you name your children something like Wesley and Calvin but then baptize the boys as Arseny and Gleb, please stop. Either be bold and use a rarified Christian name or be comfortable with an Andrew or Thomas.
- He's right. If you accepted Chrismation and now want a Baptism, it's too late (short of driving a DeLorean 88 mph) to adjust now. And those men trawling parishes offering secret baptisms need to stop and the hierarchs need to help them do so.
- I would never have guessed any bishop would have put out such a blanket decree forbidding a book from parish bookstores, but here it is: The Heers book has a big OBSTAT on it and I don't see it in any of the standard Orthodox supplier websites. This will either make the book less present in Orthodox homes or more popular as a bit of dangerous samizdat.
- Some bishops require their priests obtain explicit permission for everything that is not a standard parish activity. There are priests who have to ask if they can do things like attend a service at another parish, participate in a local clergy brotherhood, write an article, accept an interview, and a whole host of other things that might surprise you. Other bishops give something nearing carte blanche as long as no one is writing them angry letters about what the priest is doing. Anyone who has worked in any capacity anywhere knows that every boss is different. Same situation where hierarchs are concerned.
- The best way to ask a liturgical question is to do so internally. Speak to your fellow priests, your dean, and even your bishop if it so merits. There is so much variety in liturgical practice in this country that going outside that system is strange-fire flammable and likely to cause some smoke.