I believe before everyone condemns him they need to check the story. Perhaps the woman is accusing him because of some other reason. I don't believe he is capable of what they're accusing him of.
We as Christians need to unite against the attacks against the church.
(Editor's note: There is no evidence this is "an attack against the Church." No one has condemned anyone. Allegations have been made, the police have acted, and now it is for the courts to decide the guilt of the accused. If justice, which is what we expect from our courts, is considered an "attack on the Church", then we have far greater problems than a priest who may have sinned in New England.)
First let me state that I'm confused (happens a lot ). Is the comment above about the Michael Hyatt reflection or about the Archbishop Seraphim story? If it's the former, what is being referred to? If the latter, I must say that Elaine is a) correct in her first sentence, and b) a little naive, perhaps. I agree with the editor that this is not necessarily an attack on the Church. We must allow the process of justice to run its course. And, to think that any human, priest, archbishop, nun, banker, Indian chief, or whatever, is incapable of any human behavior, however heinous, is simply naive.
Any comment that begins: I don't believe (X) is capable of ... is automatically wrong. Any man is capable of rape, murder and any other crime. It is part of the persona of abusers that they can easily elicit such remarks from naive and gullible people.
He is innocent until proven guilty before the law, but the scriptural standard is to not even give an appearance of wrong doing.
The attack on the Church is the twin temptations of lust and power and lust of power. Any of us can fall prey to those tempations at any moment.
Re-building "TRUST" is really rather simple! The process is nothing of what + Jonah is doing. All he had to do is create an appearance of stability and an even-keel approach to the OCA. HOWEVER, + Jonah has not done this. He wants to modify or give the OCA away. He wants to move the OCA headquarters and pick a new Chancellor. He has decided to forgive everyone and "move on" although there may be CRIMINAL OFFENSES. How can anyone TRUST this admin? The OCA needs stability and this admin offers none of that.
I continue to be stunned by the naivete of church members who cannot and will not believe a clergy person is capable of abuse or misconduct.
And this stuff about standing up to people whose perceived motives are "attacking the church" or "trying to destroy" a clergy person are just ridiclous and, frankly, a little delusional even.
I've always felt that there was some sort of pathological grandiosity in the minds of priests who - when accused of miscondcut of any kind - play the persecution card and/or go on the offensive, gathering their gullible parishioners around them to attack or discredit accusers. "Fr so-and-so is incapable of such a thing because he has been wonderful to me, so therefore this accuser is lying, crazy, evil or has some sort of wicked motive such as trying to destroy the parish or the church!" Give me a break, people.
Yes, the standard is to not even give the appearance of wrong doing. Maybe some of these guys should spend their energy on that.
And maybe the rest of us should accept that even people we admire
and trust are capable of doing some very bad s**t....and its only in
an environment of integrity and transparency and appropriate care
for ALL involved will the truth come out, and then and only then, the remediation and healing can begin.
Finally, statistics show us that false complaints are rare and if made, rarely stand up to scrutiny for long. I understand how difficultthese matters are for all involved, but to deny the possibility that wrong doing occured, without the facts that investigators have access to, and to attack accusers just because of your loyalty to the accused is WRONG.
Last Sunday, we celebrated the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, the beginning of our journey to Great Lent. I always get these two people mixed up, which one was reverent and which one was boasting, so I am looking at the article posted on the Archdiocese Website last week so as not to embarrass myself.
The Pharisee is the one who bragged about all the good things he did and how he lived his life in the Church. He patted himself on the back, was very proud of his actions and basically was a self-serving, selfish individual.
The Publican, a tax collector, saw thru this kind of living, and knew it was wrong. He didn't brag or boast about anything that he did, and he didn't look to everyone to praise him. He very simply said, "God, be merciful to me a sinner", as he smote himself upon his breast.
Do these two people remind you of anyone? They sure remind me of two specific Bishops in our Archdiocese. One is still here, who brags in his interviews, boasts in his self-serving addresses about what he did, issues ridiculous directives with more points than we can remember, makes demands upon our Federal Government and basically knows how to manipulate everyone connected to God's Holy Church. Then he gets angry when people challenge him, and his response is to dismiss clergy, send his thugs out to harass people on their own private properties, demand respect and obedience from everyone, and allows his bandits to continue their dishonest work - all of this in the name of God.
The other one, who has since gone on to greener pastures in the OCA, and what a blessing for him, simply asked for financial procedures to be in order, spoke kindly and gently while being booed and shut down by the well-placed clergy/laity who called him "NOT ORTHODOX", and expected his Diocese to comply with full audits. He spoke in peace in the name of God, knowing that God is the only ONE we follow, and that all our actions must be peaceful and honest at all times - there is no other way. When he was pushed against the wall by his superior, he finally said "Enough", knowing that things would not get better soon, and that his ministry was needed elsewhere.
I never connected these facts before on the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, but I will remember the similarities every year from now on when we approach the beginning of Great Lent. May we find peace and honesty in all that we do.
It's Clouding Up Again
Recently I heard someone compare the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican to the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. The younger son, who went off to waste his inheritance and live in sin, repented and returned to ask forgiveness of his father. He was definitely the Publican in that story.
The older son, the obedient one who stayed at home and honored his father, was very angry when his brother returned home, and a large party was given in his honor. He sat there bragging, as did the Pharisee, about how good he was and all that he did. He was very jealous of his brother, and the story ended there, and none of us still know if he made up with his brother or not.
This is a good lesson to learn, as I never compared those two Sundays and had no idea they were related. It's something to think about as we prepare for the start of Great Lent. In the end, who is the true obedient one, the true repentant one, the true honest one?
Today is Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Think back to two years ago today - do you all remember where you were? Most Orthodox Faithful were sitting in their parishes across the country, on what we thought was a beautiful Sunday morning, Forgiveness Sunday, with Great Lent beginning the next day.
To our shock and dismay, we read a message from MP re: the status of our Diocesan Bishops, a message that no one anticipated, but one that sent shock waves of disgust throughout the AOCANA. Suddenly a beautiful day turned into clouds, uncertainty, and a gigantic painful trauma with so many twists and turns that it was more like a tornado had descended upon the peacefulness of the coming Lent.
We all know where that led to, and now two years later, more shoes have been dropped than we realized, each one leaving sorrow and destruction in it's path, just like a tornado. The trust that we once shared and believed in was gone, and we could no longer look to our leaders for peace and understanding, not to mention trust. All that was thrown to the wolves, and the things that would benefit the AOCANA best were thrown aside - one man and one man alone with his group decided how things would be from now on.
This mess is far from over, but the pain will stay with many for the rest of their lives on this earth. Only time will tell how this all ends, if it does, and if nothing else, we will all be the wiser and the smarter for knowing who we can trust and believe in, and who doesn't care for us at all. We believe and trust in GOD, and some of the clergy/laity also. Many others, clergy and laity, will never again be trusted, respected or obeyed, now matter how many threats are carried out.
The AOCANA is damaged goods after 2 years of pain and misery. But damaged goods can be fixed with the right antidote, and we all know what that is. Now we just need to find someone or a group of people who are strong enough to act in the name of GOD, and not in the name of anyone else, to end this trauma and suffering that didn't have to happen. There is enough trouble in this world - trouble that we cannot always control - but this is something that must be controlled in order to restore the peace and joy of the AOCANA that once reigned.
As we begin Great Lent again next week, let us join together to bring joy to the AOCANA, and pray for all those who have been thrown out in the process, people whose lives have been forever changed, people who did not deserve to be treated so badly. There will never be a reason or an excuse for this stuff that was allowed to go down, and we have to stand up and fight for GOD'S HOLY CHURCH to preserve it for the generations to follow us.
The Third Messy Year Begins