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Catholics should be wary of supporting the Russian Orthodox Church against Pussy Riot

Among the victims of the Putin-Orthodox alliance are Russia’s Catholic minority

By on Monday, 20 August 2012

Russia Punks vs Putin

Here are some memories that have resurfaced from the depths of my mind of late.

The first concerns a very kind and wise British priest, now long gone to his reward, who told me of something that happened in Rome back in the 1970’s. The Cardinal Vicar (that is the Cardinal who governs the local Church in Rome on behalf of the Pope) called all the religious resident in the diocese to a meeting in the Lateran, which is of course the Cathedral of Rome. The Lateran is an enormous church, but it must have been pretty packed, for in these days there were thousands of nuns in Rome, as well as thousands of male members of the religious orders. Anyway, the Cardinal – who may have been Ugo Poletti – got up to address the assembled religious and harangued them at length (people who have heard a certain type of Italian sermon will know what I mean by ‘harangue’) about the necessity of voting Christian Democrat at the forthcoming elections.

According to my old friend the British priest, who sat through this with a wry smile, many of the Italians present were enraged by the Cardinal’s speech. Most of them were the sort of people who voted Christian Democrat as second nature, but if anything could put them off voting for the Christian Democrats, it was this sort of intervention from the institutional Church.

As a matter of fact, it is well known that the Church supported the DC (as the party was known) and was instrumental in securing the DC victory in the elections of 1948, when it was feared that Italy was on the brink of going Communist. Italians, particularly those of a certain age, will tell you that the DC saved Italy from Communism, and therefore the Church’s support of the DC was a good thing.

This may have been true in a sense, for the idea of an Italy ruled from Moscow makes one shudder, but it is also true that the close association between Church and DC may have damaged the Church. Indeed, it is remarkable that when the DC fell, in a welter of corruption scandals, the Church escaped relatively unscathed.

Another memory – an Italian Jesuit, a specialist in archaeology, telling me that he was very interested in politics. To my innocent enquiry about whether he supported the DC, he replied: “No, I am a member of the Communist party! It is the only decent party there is in Italy!”

Yet another memory: a young man, very keen on Berlusconi in his early days, saying to me: “The Cattocommunisti, they are the worst of the lot!” The Cattocommunisti were the Catholic members of the Communist party, the ones who fused Marxism with Catholic social teaching. There must have been some present at the Lateran meeting, but I doubt they were among the enraged – they would have expected a cardinal to back the DC, but continued voting communist themselves. Though in fairness, there was a large wing of the DC which was far to the left of the British Labour party.

Why these thoughts now? Well, they are occasioned by the world’s most famous feminist punk group, Pussy Riot, and some of the hard things that Nick Cohen has to say on the matter in yesterday’s Observer, which you can read here. 

I disapprove of political demonstrations in churches, but, and it is a huge but – when the Church itself turns political, party political, then it opens itself up to precisely this sort of behaviour. The Russian Orthodox Church has compromised its integrity by allying itself with Mr Putin’s regime – an alliance which results, incidentally, in state-sponsored persecution of Catholics in Russia.  Pussy Riot were not wrong to protest at the way the Church has behaved. Remember, their demonstration was not aimed at Putin, per se, it was aimed at the Church. And the Church responded to the Pussy Rioters by invoking the power of the state against them

It cannot be the job of a Catholic such as myself to tell the Orthodox Church what to do. But let us remember, that when the Church is married to the spirit of the age, she will be a widow in the next. What will come after Putin? And what will the Patriarch do then?

  • Judith Stefencavage

    fr.   I read a book about the persecution of Catholics in Russia from way back, even up to Krushev and today as you write.  The state promised the Orthodox church of Russia  total immunity if they would side w/the state and they did just that.  At one time the ORthodox church was helping Russia.  They were promising the Catholics that if they joined the Orthodox church they too would be immune to persecution, etc.     I guess some people did hop over but the  majority of Catholics stayed where they were; in our CatholiIc Church.  Russia has a dismal history of persecuting the Catholics; they are afraid of them, they do not want anyone or any entity to be stronger than them.    I have nothing against the people in the Orthodox Church but the church itself; the elders who make the decisions;etc. 
    I am still reading the book, it is about Martyrs of the Catholic Church and it goes into each country where Catholicism is and has been persecuted.  Excellent read, very very informative.   I did not know that Krushev was involved in trying to suppress the Catholic Church, after which (at some point) the church had been given some of their freedom back when he first was chosen to lead Russia.  

  • URSULARICHES

    Pissy Rioters burst into a mass & demonstrated THEN? Is this tolerable- NO! would a theatre or concert tolerate this? Would a teacher with a class tolerate it? No manners at all -a total disregard for others is what is the problem herre. Demonstrating OUTSIDE of a church is definitely the way to do it rather than INSIDE. Why have your snipes at Putin? Are you angry with him for preventing another NFZ this time in Syria. Are you angry with him for preventing a bloodbath of Christians & Muslims & children in Syria by Salafi Wahhabi cults who are paid $2k /day from UK & US money? Do not dig at Putin or Russia or support others doing it~ for the lives of most Syrians is bearable because of them.

  • Veuster

    What the Pussy Rioters did was revolting and deserved the severest punishment. I find it hard to understand how any decent person could possibly defend their actions. However, the Russian Church is also right in calling for clemency; and it would be a Christ-like gesture if President Putin, as a Christian Head of State, showed clemency at the Church’s request.

    Putin was right on Bosnia, right on Kosovo, right on the ridiculously-named ‘Arab Spring’, right on Egypt and right on Libya, just as he is now right on Syria. Whatever his faults, he has been far more of a defender of Christendom than has any other major world political leader.

  • URSULARICHES

     Thankyou. I am not about to allow the media to DISS Putin or Russia when we have war criminals in UK US & HE BLOCKS their evil way.Catholicism teaches that to reprove others is an act of mercy & that discipline CAN be merciful-not only to those who need to be shown their error BUT also to deter others who may follow them. Greater clemency would be mistaken for being soft-at this stage. A proper way to obtain it would be to write a suitably apologetic letter to those concerned, NOTto  protest about nasty Russia dealing with their crimes!  Media are criticising justice properly applied, they actively support sado-terrorism & sado-terrorists in Libya & Syria & are giving war criminals in our govts a free-ride. Shame on P. rioters but even more shame on the media.

  • Neil Addison

    I have blogged about the legal aspects of this case at 
    http://religionlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pussy-riot-in-british-church.html

    It is clear that if Pussy Riot had done the same thing in an English Church they would also have been breaking the law so it is difficult to see why Russia is being criticised over this prosecution.

    In addition there is one aspect to the incident which has not been commented on in the British media or in this Blog. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is of special importance.  It is a reconstruction of a Cathedral which was deliberately destroyed in 1931 as part of the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union and was rebuilt by public subscription after the fall of Communism . 

    In the West we seem to have almost forgotten Communism and the evils it brought but people in Russia have not.  Under Communism groups such as the League of Militant Atheists often desecrated Churches and engaged in parodies of religious ritual whilst singing obscene songs which has similarities to what Pussy Riot did.  In addition I notice that in Court one of the Pussy Riot demonstrators wore a R Shirt bearing a clenched fist and the words “No Pasaran” which was a slogan of the Spanish Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War.  It was a bit like appearing in a German Court wearing a T Shirt with a Nazi Slogan.

    There may well be legitimate criticisms of President Putins rule and it may well be that the Orthodox Church is too close to him but the fact remains that in this particular case I do not see that the Russian Government can be criticised over this  prosecution.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    So what is the solution?!  We cannot forget the unimaginable sufferings all Christians endured under godless Communism.  (We cannot begin to comprehend how Ukranian Catholic were imprisoned for 10 years hard labour for organising prayer meetings etc)  And now Russians are turning against secularism and turning back to the Orthodox Church-State!  So what are Catholics to choose?!  I know which I would choose. 

    The trouble is Catholics have surrendered the notion of the Church-State.  Now we are virtually homeless and at the mercy of whatever ideological regime fills the gap.  We will live to regret our decision.  Seems like supporting secularism is also being married to the spirit of the age.  Orthodox Russians are simply taking their chance to exercise power when they have it. 

  • Jonathan West

    I disapprove of political demonstrations in churches, but, and it is a huge but – when the Church itself turns political, party political, then it opens itself up to precisely this sort of behaviour.

    Could you please mention this to William Oddie, who seems intent on hitching the Catholic Church to the Republican Party in America now that Paul Ryan is the vice-presidential candidate?

  • Meena

    “..it would be a Christ-like gesture if President Putin, as a Christian Head of State..”
    Putin is like the Christian heads of state of past centuries.

  • Meena

    Incredible.
    You have not the slightest knowledge of what you are writing about.

  • Oconnord

    Isn’t that just the normal? Freedom of religion means that “I tell you what to do… because my GOD said so”.

    I object when my god isn’t bigger than yours!!! 

  • theroadmaster

    The alliance of Church and State invariably ends up in misery for the latter as demonstrated in eighteenth century France or mid-twentieth century Cuba, when the winds of change come from below through violent revolution.  The Russian Orthodox Church has been firmly entrenched in Russian Society for around 1200 years or more and it’s zenith in terms of power was reached during the czarist centuries.  The Bolshevik revolution of 1917-21 turned Russia into effectively a one-party paranoid state,  which did not tolerate dissent or opposition(even God).  .The Orthodox Church was very violently persecuted and  countless thousands of it’s adherent, both clerical and lay, suffered martyrdom and imprisonment in the face of it.  After Glasnost and Perestroika, in the transition decade of the 90′s, the Church perceptibly began to recover a lot of it’s lost prestige and influence, as the terrible nightmare of communism came to an end.  But latterly, the cozy relationship between the state and recent Patriarchs, has led to the secular power enforcing decrees, which seek to stifle religious diversity, with a view to maintaining Russian Orthodoxy as the dominant Faith community within the country.  This can be a two-edged sword and when religious leaders get involved in a intimate embrace with the secular state, inevitably religious principles get compromised to such an extent, that Religion becomes barely credible.  The Catholic Church fortunately due to Her universality and supranational characteristics, has managed to avoid being held hostage too long by the national interests of particular countries or monarchies throughout history.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Yes, I read your blog with great interest. And yes, I agree thatt he two year sentence is nothing spectacular when one considers that such behaviour would be illegal here in the UK, and bearing in mind the 18 months handed down to the Cambridge undergraduate who desecrated the Cenotaph. But I think this should be read as an anti-Patriarch protest not an anti-Putin protest… but I do not wish to criticise the Patriarch as I am not a member of his church!

  • Patrick_Hadley

    That student was sentenced to sixteen months in jail for violent disorder, which included being involved in the smashing of a shop window and taking items from the shop. As was made clear at the Court of Appeal he was not charged with any offence relating to the Cenotaph and his conduct there only indirectly related to the sentence he received. The Pussy Riot protest was not violent.

  • David Lindsay

    As the once unmissable, but now boringly predictable, Nick Cohen knows perfectly well, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which was defiled by grown women who somehow expect to be taken seriously despite calling themselves “an anarchist punk rock collective” by the name of “Pussy Riot”, was previously demolished on the orders of Stalin in order to make way for a swimming pool. Its restoration embodies the restoration of Holy Russia, pre-eminent among the Slavs in their age-old mission of defending the true Western civilisation that is the recapitulation in Jesus Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire, at least as much against the godless, rootless, usury-based, stupefied, promiscuous pseudo-West as against anything else.

    That pseudo-West would seem to be summed up perfectly by this “Pussy Riot”. Or are they demonstrating against the reversal of Stalinism? If so, then they are in line with the only viable political alternative to Putin and Medvedev, which is the totally unreconstructed Communist Party of the Russian Federation, notable for its Soviet flags at demonstrations. Banners on which British reporters cannot bring themselves to comment, any more than on the equally ubiquitous black, yellow and white of Russian ultranationalism in all its anti-modern, anti-urban, anti-scientific and anti-Semitic awfulness. Russian ultranationalism in opposition to the present Russian Government. Have you got that? Has Nick Cohen? If it is not those, then it is the Caucasian Islamists. Or else the National Bolsheviks, whose flag is that of Nazi Germany, but with a black hammer and sickle in place of the swastika.

    Is Nick Cohen still, as he grew up being, a totally unreconstructed supporter of, in that case, a necessarily reconstructed Soviet Union? Is he, rather improbably, an anti-modern, anti-urban, anti-scientific and anti-Semitic Russian ultranationalist? Is he a Caucasian Islamist? Is he a National Bolshevik? Or is he just a supporter of godlessness, rootlessness, usury, stupefaction and promiscuity, who inhabits so very limited a circle that he imagines everyone to be like that, and who is therefore shocked to the core to discover that some people are not? If the last, then he is well past his sell by date, and really has been ever since the invasion of Iraq.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Correction noted!

  • Peter Benedict

    Such behaviour would indeed be illegal in the UK but when Peter Tatchell protested in Canterbury Cathedral, although he was prosecuted for a public order offence, the fine of £18.60 was a nominal and appropriately derisory one. I think urinating on the Cenotaph is a far more shocking offence against public decency. The Cenotaph honours those who died so that we need not live under totalitarian rule and the dead cannot respond or choose to show clemency. British society is mature enough to be irritated by Tatchell’s protest but not to regard it as meriting prison. Similarly, it is evidence of the maturity of most Western Christians that we broadly agree with the attitude of the judge in that case. It is evidence of the immaturity of Russian democracy that it cannot tolerate dissent and labels rowdy protest in a church as blasphemy.

  • JabbaPapa

    Answer : NO

  • Parasum

    Sorry, but what those women did was wrong. That is not changed by any unloveliness of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    The press in this country seem incapable of appreciating the offensiveness of the mode in which those women  protested. A church is a ***holy*** place, and the sanctuary is almost the holiest space in it. What they did was hardly less sacrilegious  than that profanation of the of tthe Blessed Sacrament in the US some months ago. Sacrilege is sacrilege, regardless of how revolting the Church is whose holy things are profaned. Why should holy places be profaned, when in this country the same conduct would not be tolerated if it happened in a museum or other public building ?

    I for one am fed up with the amoral (pseudo-)liberalism that is blind to the rights of God, and in its blindness hopes to build a just society while despising the God of Justice. Unless God is acknowledged, there is no reason why that group’s rights should matter one iota, or even exist – for one cannot reject God, then complain of injustice in society. But the God Who is Alone the lasting foundation of all justice requires our love and reverence – so if the press were consistent, it would embrace both justice, and the rights of God. 

  • Parasum

    It is very noteworthy that Hitler is routinely held up for execration – understandably, given what he did – whereas Stalin & Mao get off very lightly. Stalinists are acceptable in this country, whereas neo-Nazis are not. Why ?

    Stalin’s persecution of Christians is almost unbelievable – Mao’s ditto. That didn’t stop Stalin being treated as an ally – eventually. No wonder the Nazis at Nuremberg complained of “victor’s justice”.  To say nothing of the betrayal of Poland to the USSR. Communism is a “satanic plague”, just as Pius XI said it was. The voluntary naivety of the hierarchy on this point these last 50 years, & the scandalous silencing by Rome of those who had suffered under Communism, are unforgivable.

  • Brian A. Cook

    Thank you very much, Father.  I pointed out elsewhere that Kirill is allegedly corrupt and decadent himself and is allegedly in the tank for a corrupt president.   My warning was ignored.   However, I get the impression that the demonstration was aimed at Putin–they “prayed” (if the term can be used) that Putin be thrown out of office.  I think I read at another site that the women acknowledged that they may have behaved very badly in staging their demonstration inside the church.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    When the Catholic Church directly influenced politics, the kings felt justified in controlling the Church. They would choose who was appointed bishop, for example. In some cases, they could even influence in who was elected Pope. Those were dark times, when many members of the Church hierarchy were seriously corrupt.

    The Church is much better now without political power.

    I do condemn the action of those Italians who stole the Papal states without paying a just compensation; I hope they repented before death. Still, the Church has actually _benefited_ from their actions.

  • Just Sayin’
  • Henry Law

    They deserved appropriate punishment. Something like community service every Saturday for a year or so. Perhaps cleaning the church, polishing the brass, scraping off the wax.

  • Kevin

    Why is a word that is known to be vulgar being liberally employed in a Catholic newspaper article?

    The offensive choice of name alone should be reason enough for failing to draw respectable attention to one’s cause.

  • James Redman

    There appears to be ‘an elephant in the blog’ in that the Holy See was, is, and ever will be, deeply involved in realpolitik. Remember an Nuncio is, de facto, an ambassador. I have no problem with this as the Holy Father is the Vicar of Christ and ‘Father of Princes and Kings’ [I assume this also covers Presidents, etc.] and therefore has the right and duty to be concerned with the secular world.
    The problem with the Papal States was that too many secular rulers wanted to get their grubby [albeit regal] paws on them and so the Papacy’s interests became localised. Now they are gone, the Holy Father can once again proclaim God’s Laws when they conflict with Man’s desire to ‘do his own thing.’
    As for Mother Russia, the ‘Third Rome’ perhaps less aggressive tactics on behalf of the RC’s might benefit, e.g.. not insisting on the Western Rite. After all,  the Orthodox are a ‘proper’ church even if tainted with erastianism-albeit venerably inherited from Byzantium.
    Finally, re the PR demonstration, substitute St Peter’s for Moscow Cathedral and then stand back and watch the fireworks!!

  • teigitur

    Welcome back Damo. That comment was a little less than your normal lucid.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    But being involved in politics and being involved in party politics are two different things. The first is a must, the second very dangerous.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘I object when my god isn’t bigger than yours!!!’
      
    Given that Richard Dawkins is only 5′ 10″ that must explain the frequency of your utterances here.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    The Church needn’t hold any power……but when Catholics have the opportunity to dedicate their nation to Christ….they should do so.  Not to do so when the opportunity arises is false humility…..not to mention lack of common sense and lack of faith.

    If you think the Church in Italy, not to mention Italy itself, has benefitted from the decline of the Church States….then I’m afraid you are viewing the situation through false rose coloured spectacles.  I’m sure the souls of millions of slain unborn children would beg to differ.

  • LocutusOP

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more – about this particular issue, although I agree with the need to keep politics out of the pulpit.

    Even if we ignore the significance that this particular church has within Russian society, I can’t get myself to permit riotous behaviour from anarchists in a church (of any sort) as part of a political statement. This would open up all cans of worms.

    Are we to allow those who oppose Muslims to riot in mosques? What of situations where we have religious minorities? Should we allow riots by Muslim confrontationists in churches where Christians form minorities?  What of the social tension that would result if we turned places of worship into venues of confrontation?

    Nothing prevented these women from protesting elsewhere – which indeed they have done – but they chose a location which would shock and insult most people.

    Frankly, I think they got off lightly, and if they didn’t know better then surely anyone willing to repeat such an offence (and I use that term in its fullest sense) will know better.

  • Welbeck

    This article is perplexing. There is no comparison between a priest urging his flock to vote for a particular political party and a group of mischief makers taking over the alter of a church with an intention to utter blasphemy and to incite hatred against Christianity. The punishment of jail seems highly appropriate in all the circumstances. In days of old in this country such conduct would not have been tolerated by society and punished. Churches need to be protected from those who despise God.

  • Jeannine

    In this rare instance, the Russian government acted properly; they arrested & tried a Punk band that desecrated a church. The band could have protested outside the building & still got their message out. The punishment of 2 yrs in prison may be a bit much by western standards but yet it’s not the gulag.
     
    Yes there has been many instances of an unholy alliance between Russian govenment & the Russian Orthodox Church esp during these last 100 yrs. Yet, this current alliance between Putin & our Orthodox brothers is a bit different. Putin & the Orthodox see their country dying. Population replacement rate is in the negative, economy is not doing too good, terrorism is a problem within their borders, high rates of alcoholicism & drug abuse–more so since the Soviet Union collapse, & more abortions than live births….
     
    Putin may be an ex-KGB man but he is a Russian 1st. How can he possibly rule over a country if there is no one left to rule? Putin realizes the moral fabric of the country needs to be mended & that is where the Orthodox Church can help. Even the Catholic Church is helping in this area esp in Siberia. Putin & the Orthodox Church are generally grateful for this asistance although in other regions they are not giving the CC an easy time. (paranoid about apostatizing)
     
    Bottomline: Russian Orthodox & Catholic Churches do not have to worry about Putin as of now. What it will be in the future—who knows!
     
     

  • Veuster

    It may not be ideal for the church to be involved in party politics, but I’d far rather see the Russian Orthodox Church being a little bit too close to President Putin than being persecuted by a godless and bloodthirsty Communist tyranny, as it was for generations in the last century.

    I have lived to see Christianity restored in Russia and I thank God for it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7UO272UB3UDIPP7X6QIHGDIEK4 Herman U. Ticke

    I notice a great deal of sympathy for the Russian Orthodox church on this page.
    I can see what it has going for it.
    Gorgeous churches, lots of gold leaf, lovely icons, columns of babooshkas waiting to light a candle in front of an image of the Virgin Mary.  An atmosphere of recollection.
    Clouds of incense. A solemn gentleman dressed in magnificent robes with a huge beard performs an ancient ritual in a bygone language.
    Unfortunately, the solemn gentleman is the problem, for me at any rate.
    The Communist  era lasted for 73 years and 7 months, (well done Michel – even if your other stuff wasn’t up to much), and the Communist Party infiltrated many of its members into the Orthodox church, whereas many of the real clergy were killed or died in prison.
     I hold that to have valid orders (or any other sacrament) requires the use of a
    valid form,
    valid matter,
    valid intention,
    valid minister and
    suitable dispositions on the  part of the recipient.
    How can anyone today possibly know whether any of the putative ministers  of the Russian Orthodox church actually have valid orders? Perhaps the best thing would be to allow a Bishop(s) of the Greek Orthodox church who can trace his lineage back to the 19th century to perform their ordinations, at least in the short run.

    If their orders are not valid then at best what they are doing is a mockery and a parody of Holy Mass, regardless of how sincere they may be and regardless of the atmosphere of devotion, lashings of gold leaf etc., that exists the church.  In that case the events of the ‘riot’ simply amount to one lot of heretics being nasty to another lot of heretics and receiving some nastiness back in return.

    Incidentally, since when did doing the hokey cokie in jeans and a balaclava constitute the acme of cool. There is less to this youth culture than meets the eye.

     

  • nytor

    Vladimir Putin or Ivan the Terrible? I know which I’d rather deal with.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    I agree that the liberalization of abortion is a crime against humanity.

    However, if the Pope still controlled a theocratic state, he would have much less respect in other parts of the world. He would be seen as a politician, one who has economic and political interests. I think the Catholic Church would be weaker because of this.

    The Pope has more credibility as a pure spiritual leader.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    I’m not talking about the Pope as ruler….which is a red herring since a theocracy proper is an Islamic concept.  In Christendom…a faithful Catholic layperson is the secular leader….but the nation’s laws culture and worldview are Catholic.  That is what a Catholic state is.

    The Pope remains head of the Vatican only….but spiritual leader of all Catholics.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

    It was, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. In the US criminal trespass is a state crime with various penalties. In Indiana, you can be fined up to $10k and be imprisoned up to 3 years for criminal trespass which is a low grade felony. In Texas, the same crime is 6 months and a misdemeanor. I suspect that jurisdictions that take criminal trespass more seriously will have people less outraged at the sentence of 2 years. 

  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

    They also prayed against the adoration of the belt of the theotokos in favor of mass demonstrations. They also prayed against pro-natalism and the idea that women should love. 

    While I wish that Putin would be replaced by someone better, I find the rest of their prayer to be repugnant and thus my support of them to be highly qualified. 

  • http://twitter.com/Woodsey_84 Michael Wood

    The sub-heading of this article basically infers that we should only stick up for human rights when Catholics are the victims. It’s offensive. 

  • Dom414

    “The cenotaph honours those who died…”

    Have you ever visited a church?
    Or considered how many services are held in them for the dead?
    Or how many are buried in them, or surrounding grounds?

    Have you noticed the cross above the altar, and what that signifies?

    Whilst i broadly agree with the main article, it is this very kind of selective idea of “human rights” people in the west are jumping on.

    If it was a monument to Stalin would anyone be bothered? My suspicion the pussy riot phenomenon is partly being driven by many people using the opportunity to exercise their right to religious hatred .

    I follow Amnesty’s blog and the calls from members for protest demos in UK churches are common.

  • Joe

    you must be kidding, he was wrong on all of those. The KGB-run so-called Church in Russian and the KGB-run government, which appointed the ex-KGB colleague of putin as head of the Russian so-called church should get their hands of those girls, who have not done anything terrible. There sentence should be more like two hours, not two years.
    Some people just hate active and brave women… Who dare they… That’s probably the root cause of all the hatred towards them

  • Joe

    not surprised to find so many Putin lovers here. The religious always need some Father figure, whether in their imaginary or real.
    NOthing more disgusting than a political alliance between Church and State. They always result in bringing to power the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, or helping them sustain the power of some thug, like here with Putin and his KGB-run “church”

  • Winjanefish

    Again a thoughtful and nuanced article – a Christian responsibility is surely to seek the help of the Holy Spirit in applying careful discernment to the complications of evil that afflict our world – evil relishes the cloak of complexity and hides behind the easy answer.

  • Veuster

    > the Russian so-called church

    Read para. 838 of the Catechism. The Holy Father would not use such dismissive language, and neither should you. > some people just hate active and brave women

    Have you ever heard of Our Blessed Lady, the bravest and most active Woman Who ever lived on earth?

  • Ronk

     This has sparked a wave of similar anti-Christian outrages, such as one I saw on video of a pro-Pussy Riot” protester cutting down a huge wooden crucifix with a chainsaw.

    Pussy Riot’s “protest” was not primarily anti-Putin nor anti-Russian Orthodox Church, it was anti-Christian and all Christians should condemn it and applaud their convictions.

  • Ronk

     You forget that priests and  bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church were for centuries effectively hand-picked by the Moslem Ottoman Empire for their compliance with it. That did not invalidate their holy orders, nor does the fact that some of the ordainers and some or the present bishops and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church got their jobs by their loyalty to Marxism. 

  • digpig

    Patriarch Kirill is supposed to be a monk but he is in fact married.  He met a lady called Lidia who was the daughter of the cook at the Leningrad Communist Party Headquarters which he frequented as a young priest in the early 1970s. If you look at Kirill’s biography, he had a meteoric rise and within 18 months of ordination he was the personal secretary to the aged Metropolitan of Leningrad.  He could only have enjoyed those promotions with the blessing and support of the KGB.
    Kirill and Lidia have been together ever since.  As a married man he could not have received valid episcopal orders in the Orthodox Church so he is not in any real sense “Patriarch”.  He does not have proper canonical authority to celebrate the Divine Liturgy as a Bishop and so many Orthodox consider that all the purported sacramental acts he performs are both blasphemous and without grace.

    Our Catholic friends should be very wary of having any dealings with Kirill and those in his entourage.  Thank you for this article.