An internet acquaintance happened to refer to St. Basil the Great's Letter 92 the other day, and I was immediately struck at how he levels the exact same charge, despite the episcopal polity of his day! Further, the friend who sent it to me was actually applying it to the current unrest that is besetting the Roman communion (to whose See, historically, this letter of fraternal appeal for help was first in part addressed)!
Check this out:
There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart's desire. Vice knows no bounds; the people know no restraint. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement.
It appears that no form of church polity can be itself a safeguard from corruption by sinful human beings in ecclesiastical office. Every officer in the Church remains a sinner. Our own Synodical President reminded our Convention of this when he was elected; that we’d kept our perfect record of only electing sinners! And yet through the mess, the mighty Word of the Lord preserves the little flock, despite us. It's a lesson from the past worth remembering.