Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/19/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Patriarch Kirill - I think that the main threat for Russia is loss of faith, rejecting faith as people's conscious choice. Not under pressure as in the Soviet times, but voluntary contempt of the Heavenly Kingdom for the sake of vanity and illusionary attractions of the earthly kingdom.

We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilization in every nation for thousands of years: the values of traditional families, real human life, including religious life, not just material existence but also spirituality, the values of humanism and global diversity. (Vladimir Putin)

Patriarch Kirill of Russia and Vladimir Putin

Patriarch Kirill of Russia and Vladimir Putin

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/19/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Russia, Putin, Patriarch Kirill, Russian orthodox Church, freedom, Constituion day, State of the Union, moral basis of a free society, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In the last two weeks I have again been reminded of some memories of my childhood, reading Superman comics. I date myself by mentioning the Bizarro world. However, some of my readers will remember the strange upside down world of the Bizarro's.

The Bizarro's inhabited a planet called "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards). Their code was "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"

The Bizarro World comes to mind as I watch the erosion of the moral foundation of freedom in the United States of America. I grew up believing that the United States of America, with its Christian roots, emphasis on a Natural Moral Law and recognition of inalienable rights which come from God, was a beacon for all Nations. In particular, for those Nations which had succumbed to the lies of atheistic Marxism. That included Russia, once the greatest proponent of atheistic communism.

I still hope this is the case. However, we have clearly lost our moral compass as a Nation. Sadly, the leadership of our Nation, rather than pointing the way out of this collapse, seems to be compounding the decay. 

Some recent news coming out of Russia reminded me of those Bizarro comics. We seem to be living in an upside down world these days. I do not suffer from naiveté. I know that the situation in Russia is ripe with its own problems. I am aware of the continuing threats to fundamental human rights people in that Nation face.

Rather, what I am pointing to is the language being used by its leaders, secular and religious, in diagnosing the root of the problems facing the Russian Nation, and proposing a path to cultural renewal. A path which leads through a recovery of the moral values found in faith in God. 

Let me give two recent examples.  

On December 12, 2013, Constitution day in Russia, Russian President Valadimir Putin gave a 70 minute, wide ranging State of the Union Address. What I found most interesting was his comments on the moral crisis facing his Nation and the West: 

Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognize everyone's right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning.

This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values.

We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilization in every nation for thousands of years: the values of traditional families, real human life, including religious life, not just material existence but also spirituality, the values of humanism and global diversity.

Of course, this is a conservative position. But speaking in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.


Sitting in the front row, in a place of prominence, was Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin now regularly professes his Orthodox Christian faith. He looks to the Patriarch for spiritual leadership and input on moral issues.

I know, some cynical observers question this profession of Christian faith by Putin. I leave room for anyone to find the truth which is revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; including former KGB officers. However, there is little doubt that the Orthodox Church is now resurgent in Russia.  In fact, Christianity is growing and its influence is spreading.

Patriarch Kirill is the 6th Patriarch of Moscow. He is theologically and doctrinally solid - said to be a man of deep faith and courage. He is a champion of the authentic Orthodox Christian Tradition and a stalwart defender of the doctrine of the ancient Christian Faith of the First Millennium - before the first split in the Church occurred.

He is outspoken in his concern over the moral decline in Russian, European and broader western culture. He is also dedicated to doing something about it - leading a resurgence of authentic Christianity and a new missionary undertaking to Russian culture.

Since his enthronement, Patriarch Kirill has offered his voice of clarity and authority to the growing Catholic and Orthodox critique of the decline of moral values and the hostility of the contemporary culture toward the Church.

He openly decries the growing rejection of Christian influence throughout the world. He warns of the dangers that such a rejection present to civilization and authentic freedom. Last January, in a very insightful interview with Interfax the Patriarch was asked what he considered to be the greatest threat to Russia. His response was clear:

Please, name the main threats for Russia.

Patriarch Kirill - I think that the main threat for Russia is loss of faith, rejecting faith as people's conscious choice. Not under pressure as in the Soviet times, but voluntary contempt of the Heavenly Kingdom for the sake of vanity and illusionary attractions of the earthly kingdom.

Unfortunately, there are signs of this process. For the sake of comfort and joys people refuse following moral norms. Thus, gradually, limits of sin and righteousness are washed away. And what was considered unworthy of a person: alcoholism, drug-addiction, lust, prostitution, homosexuality become norm.


Society has always suffered vices, but today as in times of Roman and other civilizations decay they were considered socially approved. In result the institute of traditional family is collapsing. Rooted in sins, man lives in passions and doesn't want to hear a sermon about Christ as acceptance of the Gospels commandments demands him to reconsider his behavior, to change himself, to make a spiritual effort to overcome imperfection.

Eventually, there's a real danger of rejecting Christ, rejecting the Orthodox faith. If it happens to us, we can speak about the end of our national history. If there's no faith - there' no Russia.

And "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). We are especially urged to remember it when celebrating the Nativity of Christ and I congratulate you on the feast. The Nativity of the world's Savior is the event that has changed the history of humanity - it is an example of divine indulgence to people, to all of us.

Let us, following the Lord Jesus Christ, share joy of the feast with those who need help. Our Christian joy about Newly Born Divine Baby won't be full, if we don't extend the helping hand to those, who need it.


As we approach the celebration of Nativity of the Lord, let us pray for the United States of America to recover the moral roots of her freedom. That will only come by turning back to God who is the source of freedom. Let us pray for the conversion of those in leadership in the United States. Let us lead the way by living our own Christian faith in a compelling and courageous way.

Let us also pray that Russia can find the path to freedom in God.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Europe

SCARY VIDEO! What the heck blew up in Russia's sky? Was it a meteor or something stranger?! Watch

Image of A still taken from footage of the phenomena that took place in Russia on November 14.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What was the mysterious phenomena that occurred in Russia and was witnessed and captured on camera by dozens of motorists? It appears that nobody knows for sure, and even experts are left scratching their heads while they struggle to find reasonable explanations. ... continue reading


Who really was Jack the Ripper? New evidence points to one man Watch

Image of A criminologist from England may have new evidence that points towards the real identity of Jack the Ripper.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new theory about the identity of infamous 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper may explain why the murderer was able to elude contemporary and modern authorities for so long and escape justice. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dr. Gareth Norris, a ... continue reading


Which countries drink the most beer? Our list may surprise you! Watch

Image of Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Who still drinks beer?  Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages, behind water and tea.  Beer is also a Catholic tradition, alongside wine-making, and has been widely practiced in monasteries, especially in Europe. Now, a list has emerged detailing ... continue reading


To raise money for the poor, Pope Francis to raffle gifts Watch

Image of The tickets are only a modest €10, but this includes a new Fiat Panda 4x4, with all optional extras.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talking the talk, walking the walk: Pope Francis has done it again. The pontiff is raffling gifts that have been given to him in order to raise money for the poor. Posters announcing the raffle have gone up all over Vatican City. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Russia could destabilize Eastern Europe if Ukraine left unchecked, Merkel warns Watch

Image of It's exceedingly tough talk from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She says that Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's exceedingly tough talk from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She says that Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine "called the whole of the European peaceful order into question." Adding to the gloomy outlook was a ... continue reading


The Pope Who Builds Showers for the Poor under St Peters Rattles our Comfort Zones Watch

Image of Pope Francis embracing Jesus in the face of the poor

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Those who love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are an instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. We have such a man in this Pope named Francis. He recognizes that poverty is more than a lack of ... continue reading


Theory: Putin doesn't want war -- he's selling Russian hardware Watch

Image of Putin is playing a dangerous game on brinkmanship with the world -- or he is trying to sell hardware. Nobody is sure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vladimir Putin continues to rattle his saber at the western world with bomber flights, naval deployments and the movement of troops within Russia. Some fear the world may be on the brink of a new cold war with the old superpower. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


More Catholic Than the Pope? Francis Calls Catholics to Work and Pray with Evangelical Protestants Watch

Image of Pope Francis realistically acknowledges the differences and distinctives in doctrine and practice - as well as the divisions among us. However, he focuses on our common Baptism and shared mission in this decisive moment in Christian history. His message is powerful, prophetic and should be read by every Christian, as well as every other person of faith and good will.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis carries the burden for Christian unity in his heart, proclaims it in his words, and steps it into his actions. The hoped for healing of our divisions and call to collaboration proceeded from the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church and was ... continue reading


Catholic Cardinal fires back at illegal gay marriages in Italy Watch

Image of While gay marriage is illegal in Italy, many city mayors have begun recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside Italy, which has led to great criticism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic Cardinal is warning that gay marriage may lead to the destruction of family structure if it becomes culturally accepted by the Catholic Church. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference gave ... continue reading


Sex-selective abortions now running rampant across Eastern Europe Watch

Image of Female feticide is happening in countries which previously had no history of such practices, such as Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The practice of aborting female fetuses due to a preference for sons is an  "epidemic" which is spreading beyond countries such as India and China to Eastern European nations, a senior United Nations official warned Monday. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters ... 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, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... 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