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

Not London, New York or Paris: Luanda, Angola the most expensive city on Earth for... Watch

Image of According to Mercer's annual Cost of Living survey, places Luanda as by far the priciest city for foreign workers to live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's nowhere as well known as New York, Paris or London - but Luanda, Angola remains the most expensive city by far for expatriates to live in. Luanda ranked as the most expensive city to live in for the third time in a row. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Discovery of purported 'Nazi gold train' taken seriously in Poland Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The declarations from a German man and Polish man of discovery a long-lost Nazi train filled with gold and other treasures is being taken seriously by Poland's deputy culture minister. He says he is "convinced" the train exists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Abandoned truck holds over 20 dead migrants in Austria Watch

Image of Truck found abandoned carrying the bodies of more than 20 dead migrants

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A police manhunt takes place after the discovery of an abandoned truck containing the bodies of migrants attempting to cross Austria's border. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Austrian police report up to 50 migrants suffocated in the back of a refrigerated food ... continue reading


Vatican involvement in Ashley Madison Web site leak disproven Watch

Image of At first glance, the claim seems questionable - why would top Church officials sworn to celibacy sign up for a Web site for married people, and no less one that promotes adultery?

By CNA/EWTN News

Early this week, a leak of personal data from millions of users of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to arrange extramarital affairs, wreaked havoc on and off the internet. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - At least two suicides have been reported in conjunction ... continue reading


Four-star General reveals horrendous WWII scenes in never-before-seen photographs (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Four-star General Charles Day Palmer detailed the fights in Western Front during World War II by taking snapshots of the bombed-out cities and lifeless bodies. He kept personal photos of the battlefields in Germany and France and is now releasing them to the public for ... continue reading


Brainwashed teenage girl taken away from radical jihadi parents Watch

Image of Judge Anthony Hayden, pictured, today compared the radicalization of the 16-year-old girl, known as B as similar to that as child sex abuse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 16-year-old girl in East London has been removed from her home after a judge ruled that she was being radicalized by her parents with Islamic State propaganda. The straight-A student, known only as "B" was stopped last year when she tried to fly to Syria to ... continue reading


HEROISM - AND EXTREME COWARDICE: American service members disarm terrorist aboard train - as train's staff lock themselves in office, denying help Watch

Image of U.S. serviceman Spencer Stone answering reporters' questions at the U.S. embassy in Paris this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was an example of high heroism - undercut with a despicable act of cowardice and selfishness. As an Islamic militant from Morocco threatened life and limb a high-speed train bound for Paris with a Kalashnikov, American service members with a British man were ... continue reading


Afghan man rips up Koran sparking threatening riot in overcrowded German refugee camp Watch

Image of A riot sparked in a refugee camp in Germany, leaving 15 civilians injured.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A riot broke in an overcrowded German refugee camp shelter after an Afghan man damaged the Koran and threw pages of it in the toilet. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - One resident from an overcrowded German refugee camp tore up a Koran and dumped pages ... continue reading


Legendary lost Nazi train loaded with gold treasure found by two men Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A train commandeered by the Nazis - reportedly loaded with gold, gems and valuable art vanished into a system of secret tunnels in the Polish countryside as the Germans fled advancing Soviet forces at the end of World War II. That story has gone down in Polish ... continue reading


Stalking Prince George: William and Kate condemn paparazzi photographers inappropriately hanging around play area Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After finding paparazzi photographers hiding near the play area of the two-year-old prince, Kensington Palace has released a stern letter from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge condemning the inappropriate action harming the privacy of their toddler. William and Kate ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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