SNAP has snapped! Violating his "bail conditions not to be around children" . . . hmmm. How does that work exactly? Is he not allowed to go to the grocery store or to a doctor's office or to the post office? Children are everywhere, folks, except in brothels, bars and X-rated movies! If you look at a Megan's law website, you will see thousands of CONVICTED registered sex offenders in the surrounding communities of every major metropolitan area. Parents: Our children aren't safe ANYWHERE unsupervised; that includes church. The sooner we accept this, the safer our children will be.
It seems that both Abp Seraphim's lawyer as well as Abp Lazor agree that while "Vladika Seraphim has visited a number of the parishes in Canada -- and at the invitation of the parishes", it seems that while Abp Seraphim has "certain bail conditions", as far as his lawyer know, the Abp is "abiding by every one of them" and "the court has given leave for him to be in the churches."
It's a reach to simply assume Abp Serpahim is traveling without the consent of the court and that he is in danger of having his 'bail be revoked prior to his mid-November hearing". It's worth asking the court, of course, but it is inappropriate to imply the Abp is doing something illegal by visiting these parishes
The real issue is internal to the OCA and the Archdiocese of Canada. The real issue is whether it is appropriate for a suspended cleric - even with the assumption of innocence - to visit parishes across the country that he had former authority over. If his suspension included the performance of the sacraments, than allegations that he has heard confessions is particularly troubling. That, of course, depends on the exact nature of his suspension - perhaps he is only suspended from administrative duties and performing divine services, which would not include hearing confessions.
All anyone need do is look on the Archdiocese of Canada Website (archdiocese.ca) and you will see pictures of Seraphim in Church at the Ottawa Cathedral this past Holy Week and Pascha. One of the pictures even shows a small boy laying on the floor not far from him.
I would guess that the bail condition to "avoid contact with minors" would mean in an unsupervised capacity, but who knows for sure. I can't imagine why he would invite any further criticism on himself by attending local churches, even by invitation.
Nonetheless, I assume that the people in that Parish, Bishop Irenee, the parish priest and the other clergy are all okay with him being there.
I, for one, would not be.
Which begs the question- what about those that do not "support" Bishop Seraphim in Canada? Do they have a voice?
I'm talking about the people who acknowledge that there is enough evidence against him that he has actually been CHARGED with a crime. People who understand and accept that he has been SUSPENDED and should not be seen in any public way as an officer of the Church. People who know and understand that no matter what the verdict- guilty or not guilty, he can never again be returned to his former office as he is no longer "above reproach" (1Timothy3:2).
Please, I beg those reading this, do not write in telling me that I must forgive. Asking for accountability and due process is not an unwillingness to forgive.
I understand innocent until proven guilty. What I don't understand is a parish inviting Seraphim to be present at an event, publicly announcing his attendance, and (presumably) using church resources to ensure he is able to attend. Did the announcement state "Suspended Bishop Seraphim". No. Talk about avoiding the elephant in the room. He is suspended, charged and awaiting trial. This is the reality.
Is it to be assumed that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that parish is comfortable with the invitation and with his attendance there? What about the parish priest? He must be sure that not ONE person in his congregation would be uncomfortable with this. And what about Seraphim himself. He too must be confident enough to accept the invitation and attend, sure that no ONE person is unsure about having him there.
First of all Archbishop Seraphim IS innocent until proven guilty. Yes, he is suspended, which means he cannot serve (and has in fact NOT been). However, he is not excommunicated. As an Orthodox Christian he should be allowed to attend church and receive communion, just as much as any of us sinners. Christ, after all, came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. As far as his bail conditions, as I understand it, Archbishop Seraphim is allowed to attend church, but cannot be unsupervised around children.
Now, let's think about what may happen IF Archbishop Seraphim was found guilty. Would he be reinstated, obviously not. Would he be deposed, perhaps. Would he be excommunicated, I extremely doubt and sincerely hope not. Once again, the Church is for all sinners. Archbishop Seraphim being in communion with the Church at that point would be between him and his confessor and the Synod. For even those who are excommunicated from the Church are (in most cases) allowed to reenter once repenting of their sins and renewing their confession.
But, at this point all we can do is guess. And guess seems a little too much like gossip at times. In my opinion, unworthy as it may be, the only thing to do is pray. Pray for the Church, pray for the Archdiocese of Canada, pray that the Synod may have guidance, pray for Archbishop Seraphim, pray for anyone else suffering (whether victims or accusers, unknown as they are at this point). Pray for the Lord to have Mercy on all of us sinners.