Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Johannes L. Jacobse

2/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Patriarch Kirill is a theological conservative in the mold of Pope Benedict.

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill know that virtue is the only bulwark against oppression. That’s why they exhort their flocks to moral virtue in almost identical language.

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill know that virtue is the only bulwark against oppression. That’s why they exhort their flocks to moral virtue in almost identical language.

Highlights

By Fr Johannes L. Jacobse

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe


NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) - Over four decades ago Pope John Paul II said that the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church was necessary for the cultural restoration of Western Europe. At the time his words seemed audacious. Russia was still under the Communist yoke, the winds in Poland were just starting to blow, and the Berlin wall loomed invincible.

Culture watchers dismissed the statement as the wistful longing of a faithful man. Yet John Paul, with his gift of seeing through the clutter of immediate events into the deeper and far-reaching ways of God, knew better. He believed that the fall of Communism would unleash a transformation that could only come from those who suffered.

His words are proving true. The Orthodox Church in Russia, after 80 years of brutal persecution, is emerging not only as a religious force in Europe, but also as the new leader in worldwide Orthodox Christianity. More Christians have been killed for their faith in the last century than all other centuries combined. Many of them were the Orthodox Christians of Eastern Europe.

Pope John Paul had a great fondness towards the Orthodox Church but never realized his dream of visiting Moscow or Constantinople. That would fall to his successor. At the time, the strain between Orthodoxy and Catholicism in general and Moscow and Rome in particular was more pronounced. Now the climate is changing.

What accounts for the shift? One reason is the election last year of Patriarch Kirill, the new leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. +Kirill is a theological conservative in the mold of Pope Benedict. Both see religion as the wellspring of culture. Both understand that Europe cannot escape a final capitulation to tyranny if it does not rediscover its Christian roots.

The relationship between the Orthodox and Catholics continues to have significant strains however, and the present rapprochement is not an impending sign that the Churches will soon unify. Nevertheless, there is greater unity in the frank acceptance of real differences than in the shallow reality that is created by pretending they dont exist. Accept the differences and the skies clear. We see that much work can be done together.

One area of cooperation is restoring Christian culture. If religion is the wellspring of culture, then our moral orientation how we live and behave, the choices we make, how we order our relationships, how we value the human person becomes critical. The spiritual life of the Christian is really a life that is lived in ways pleasing to God under the Great Commandment: Love God and neighbor. How we treat one another really matters. It touches not only the neighbor but reaches deep into the larger society.

Moreover, obedience to the Great Commandment is also the guarantor of freedom. If people throw off their responsibility to God and neighbor and live for themselves, then they will either relinquish their freedom to others or a greater power will take it from them.

Pope John Paul understood this. Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill understand this too. They experienced tyranny first hand. They know that virtue is the only bulwark against oppression. Thats why they exhort their flocks to moral virtue in almost identical language.

Moreover, both leaders see that moral renewal is essential for the renewal of Europe. Religion cannot be separated from morality, and morality cannot be separated from religion. A healthy and free society requires morally virtuous people, and people discover the freedom virtue fosters through religion.

If Europes moral collapse continues, more instability will result and a new power will arise to maintain order. It could be a state ideology that resembles the former Communist tyrannies of Eastern Europe, or more likely a closed religion like the Islam of the East.

The next decade may be one of both instability and great creativity, much like the 1980s and 1990s of the last century. Its a very exciting time to be alive, but it will also require more of all Christians. We have capable leaders to help us see things more clearly.

-----

Fr Johannes L. Jacobse is an Orthodox priest serving in Naples, FL. He is the editor of Orthodoxy Today (www.orthodoxytoday.org) and President of the American Orthodox Institute (www.aoiusa.org).

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

FELONIOUS FASHION STATEMENT: Sex trafficking gangs in Britain brand their victims with tattoos Watch

Image of Human trafficking gangs in the United Kingdom have taken to marking their victims with tattoos -- echoing the treatment of prisoners of war in Nazi concentration camps.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Britain's National Crime Agency, human trafficking gangs are tattooing their victims to "signify ownership." The agency has since published figures showing a spike in the number of British people exploited by gangs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Human trafficking in U.K. fueled by Internet advertising Watch

Image of The NCA, Britain's equivalent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, came into operation last October with the aim of better coordinating police action on issues such as child sex abuse and organized crime.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The number of people locked in slavery in Britain rose by 22 percent last year, with online dating, social media sites and Internet job advertisements used increasingly to recruit victims, a new report showed on Tuesday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's ... continue reading


Old Age Is a Time of Grace: Pope Francis Calls the World to Honor the Elderly Watch

Image of More than 40,000 elderly men and women, including thousands of grandparents and grandmothers, attended this event. Prior to the Liturgy, an event entitled, The Blessing of a Long Life, featured powerful testimonies on aging and old age. Five passages from the Bible were used to demonstrate the dignity and contribution of the elderly throughout the history of God's plan of salvation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This Pope, who coined the powerful phrase - Throwaway Culture- to challenge the instrumentalism of the age and offer in its place a recovery of authentic love, demonstrated the breadth of his Pro-Life vision in his actions and his words on Sunday. The honored ... continue reading


British bishop tenders resignation over affair with married woman Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bishop Kieran Conry, of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton announced his resignation this past weekend. It was later learned that the 63-year-old bishop had an affair with a married mother-of-two and had engaged in an illicit affair with a second woman.  ... continue reading


Guarding horde for three days and nights, British builder unearths wealth of Roman coins Watch

Image of Egerton's discovery is also one of the best preserved  fourth century collections yet unearthed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amateur metal finder has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain. Fifty-one-year-old Laurence Egerton made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton in East Devon. So keenly aware of this once-in-a-lifetime find, he camped out ... continue reading


Parchment maps suggest Marco Polo landed in Alaska two centuries before Columbus Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excluding the Vikings, it's a given that Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered what would later become known as America in 1492. However, centuries-old maps and documents now suggest that Marco Polo got there first. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Priests, as well as chaplains at risk in Ukraine frontlines Watch

Image of Ukraine's soldiers have been assisted by chaplains from the numerous Christian confessions in the country: Ukrainian Greek Catholics; Roman Catholics; Ukrainian Orthodox - both Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates and Protestant communities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 3,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The provinces have experienced continual warfare between its government, and pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. Those among the frontlines there include priests - both ... continue reading


Teenage couple, 14 and 15 years old arrested for lewd acts on Scottish beach Watch

Image of Hot weather there recently triggered an avalanche of sun and drink-seeking teenagers at the Scottish beaches of Troon and Ayr.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Scottish seaside beaches of Troon and Ayr have been the scene of some unsavory acts as of late. In one tasteless recent incident, a 15-year-old girl performed sexual acts on a 14-year-old boy mere feet away from vacationing families and children. LOS ... continue reading


Google's ongoing battle in Europe could cost it $6 billion Watch

Image of Google could face a fine of $6 billion if it loses its ongoing battle with the European commission.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google's legal troubles with the European commission could cost it 10% of its global revenue, or about $6 billion, if it does not alter its offer to settle complaints, a fine that would be larger than the nearly $3 billion fine levied against Microsoft. LOS ... continue reading


Flown to France, Iraqi Christians get new chance at life Watch

Image of Few of the refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a plane, let alone traveled to a Western country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fleeing the death machinations of the Islamic State, 150 Iraqi Christians, of all ages boarded a plane headed to France for a chance at a new life. The people there at the Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, boarding a French government plane all agree on one point - ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter