Friday, October 14, 2011

Russian Shenanigans

Per Zenit, the Russian government has refused to renew the permit for the construction of a Catholic church in Pskov. Notice in the article that construction of the church has been going on for about a decade. Note also that the reason they had to build a church in the first place is because the cathedral there has been stolen and not returned.

Everybody seems to be acting shocked about this. Why? Why is everyone so surprised? Just what have the Russians done for the True Church since Lenin took over? This is basically the same nation that, with a KGB agent as its patriarch, wouldn't even let JPII visit. They actively persecute the faithful in Ukraine. They have stolen our churches. Then, they have the temerity to wail and gnash their teeth about Catholic "proselytism," as though this is something we should be ashamed of.

Keep in mind that the most prominent rising star in the Russian hierarchy was recently nice enough to let all of us know exactly what the score is. Metropolitan Hilarion, who we've written about previously, had the following exchange with George Weigel:

Yet when I asked him whether the L’viv Sobor (Council) of 1946—which forcibly reincorporated the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine into Russian Orthodoxy, turning the Greek Catholics into the world’s largest illegal religious body—was a “theologically legitimate ecclesial act,” Hilarion unhesitatingly responded “Yes.” I then noted that serious historians describe the L’viv Sobor as an act of the Stalinist state, carried out by the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB); Hilarion responded that the “modalities” of history are always complicated. In any event, he continued, it was always legitimate for straying members of the Russian Orthodox flock (as he regarded the Ukrainian Greek Catholics) to return to their true home (i.e., Russian Orthodoxy).

Throughout the meeting, Hilarion smoothly but unmistakably tried to drive a wedge between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II (whom two patriarchs of Moscow, both KGB-connected, refused to invite to Russia). He also suggested that Benedict’s calls for a “new evangelization” in Europe, including a recovery of classic Christian morality, could be addressed by joint Catholic-Russian Orthodoxy initiatives. Yet, in what seemed a strange lack of reciprocity, Hilarion also spoke as if the entirety of the former “Soviet space” is the exclusive ecclesial turf of the Russian Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow.

I have issues with Weigel, but holy smokes. People better wake the hell up on this kind of thing. The Russians are not our friends and are basically telling the world that if they have to liquidate the Catholic Church and persecute Her children in the name of maintaining Orthodox authority in Russia, they are very comfortable doing that. It's not just us on the line here either. Let's not forget that Russia is positioning itself to replace Constantinople when the Turks finally wipe that see off the ecclesiological map. I wonder how the rest of the East is going to handle that. I'm guessing it doesn't go over particularly well given that Russia's history is not all that friendly to the other sees. Just ignore the Ukrainian situation. Think Estonia, for example.

This is all bad stuff, but nobody should wring their hands and pretend like it isn't completely expected either.

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