Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Johannes L. Jacobse

2/11/2010 (5 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 (5 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 don't 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. That's 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 Europe's 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. It's 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Europe

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Marriage is God's creation - Church cannot change that Watch

Image of A push for

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Dissenting Catholic groups have called for gay marriage to be recognized as a sacrament, but Catholic theology has a clear priority: marriage is God's creation - and not even the Church can change that. Washington D.C.  (CNA/EWTN News) - Dr. John Grabowski, ... continue reading


NO MORE SISTERS: Lack of new, younger nuns forces sisters to leave elder care home Watch

Image of Sister Joseph, the Mother Provincial for the order said the decision to leave had been a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Little Sisters of the Poor have attended to needs of the elderly at the Wellburn Care Home in Dundee for more than 150 years. A lack of younger nuns has now forced the remaining seven sisters, all in their seventies, to continue their work elsewhere. The ... continue reading


Vatican withdraws support of 'questionable' anti-human trafficking initiative Watch

Image of It has been noticed in recent days that the Global Freedom Network's representative from the Holy See, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, had left the group's executive board.

By CNA/EWTN News

Faithful to its commitment against human trafficking, the Holy See has left the board of an initiative it helped to found, as questions have been raised around both its effectiveness and its chair's possible use of the Pope to raise funds. Vatican City ... continue reading


Romans not enthusiastic over Pope Francis' declaration of a Jubilee Year in Rome Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Jubilee Year was officially declared by Pope Francis in Rome, as it expected for millions of pilgrims to gather around the city to observe the celebration. However, Romans are less enthusiastic and more worried, as Rome is in crisis following the discovery of ... continue reading


French locals not happy about King Salman of Saudi Arabia's three-week Riviera vacation Watch

Image of King Salman visits the Riviera Beach in France together with 1,000 of his entourage.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman was scheduled to arrive in France Friday for a holiday trip at the Riviera Beach. The King was expected to arrive together with 1,000 of his entourage. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - King Salman's visit was ... continue reading


Islamic State may use store-bought drones to launch terror attacks at British sporting events Watch

Image of ISIS could easily get its hands on cheap drones, with more than 127,000 being bought and sold on online auction site eBay in the last year alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drones, unmanned aerial devices that can now be commercially purchased by civilians, may be used by Islamist State for terrorist attacks at British sporting events. The sick terror group would use the devices to drop explosives on to playing fields, and use the ... continue reading


New financial rules reveal Vatican had a billion euros off the books Watch

Image of The statements were prepared by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Holy See reports €1 billion in net assets never before reported, and in a consolidated form. This was part of the revelations that came under new reporting procedures more in line with international accounting standards. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Romans lose hope for city, fear mayor is too weak to conquer political scandals Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Arrests of powerful political figures in Rome continuously add up. After discoveries of corruption and mafia linkages, Romans feel more burdened over their falling apart home. Although the current mayor proved to be free from any criminal accusations linked to ... continue reading


Horrific female genital mutilation becomes shocking factor in many areas of England Watch

Image of Despite there being a lot of cases against FGM in England, there have been no prosecutions.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Due to mass immigration, female genital mutilation (FGM) has made its way to the United Kingdom. Female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting off a girl's clitoris and labia before stitching up the vulva. According to recent reports, this damaging practice is ... continue reading


Quran manuscript, at 1,500 years old, may be the oldest one discovered to date Watch

Image of The leaves of parchment date back to A.D. 568 and A.D. 645.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After initiating radiocarbon dating, measuring the age of the parchments organic materials, researchers are confident they have found the oldest surviving copies of the Quran. University of Birmingham scholars in the United Kingdom say the parchment was produced within ... 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, Numbers 12:1-13
1 Miriam, and Aaron too, criticised Moses over the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:22-36
22 And at once he made the disciples get into the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 4th, 2015 Image

St. John Vianney
August 4: St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August ... 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