Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/19/2013 (9 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 (9 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 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 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:51-56
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 30th, 2014 Image

St. Jerome
September 30: St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was ... 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