Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/19/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


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

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


Prince George turns two! Take a look at some of our favorite moments from the royal toddler's life Watch

Image of Prince George in December 2014.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Prince George, the firstborn of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turned two recently and reportedly celebrated with a private tea party at his home in Norfolk. The young, cheeky prince has been in the media spotlight ever since the announcement of Kate's pregnancy. ... 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, Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
2 And the whole community of Israelites began ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
3 What we have heard and know, what our ancestors ... Read More

Gospel, John 6:24-35
24 When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his ... Read More

Reading 2, Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
17 So this I say to you and attest to you in the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Eusebius of Vercelli
August 2: Christians who breathed a sigh of relief when Constantine ... 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