Sunday, April 19, 2015

First Things' boogeyman: Russian Orthodoxy


Orthodox terrorism. This isn't getting the reaction from me they're fishing for: revive Cold War (and older) Russophobia, defending Western liberal values. (A renewed opportunity for Sacha Baron-Cohen to tell more Polack jokes with his Borat character.) My answer is more Realpolitik and questioning those values (which are Christendom's bastard). I don't believe that Orthodoxy is the church but am not angry at the Russians for believing there is only one true church. Catholics do too! Russia's behaving very historically for Christendom. There are hardly any Greek Catholics in the Crimea (part of Russia) or in Russian areas of the Ukraine, so frankly the Russian Orthodox aren't my problem. The Kyiv Patriarchate isn't really Orthodox and is kind of a tool of Western liberals. (Parallel: what if American Protestants and the government got American Catholics to secede from Rome and elect their own Pope, claiming all Catholics here? How would/should real Catholics react?) In the Orange Revolution, President Yushchenko belonged to the KP; it's in part a Western-backed, anti-Russian schism. As I like to say when explaining the Ukraine and our meddling there, imagine if China got California to secede from the Union and turned it against us, including sending military trainers there. Russia's not Communist anymore (meaning they're not out to get us in America) so again they're not our problem, plus America doesn't trade with them. We don't NEED Russia for natural gas or anything else; any sane person just wants to keep the peace. (Nixon: they'll never be our friends but we can't afford to be their enemy either.) And... they are estranged Catholics; even though they hate us because we don't answer to their empire, our mission as Catholics remains to reconcile them to us if only working through prayer and example. (Our vision of the church includes them; theirs doesn't include us.)

Better estranged Catholics than the secular humanist overlords here, and the Russian Byzantine Rite beats the Novus Ordo.

By the way, the onion domes on this church are uniquely Ukrainian.

Христосъ воскресе!

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, John, but I must disagree. I agree with you about a lot of things, but there are two areas where I disagree: your "manosphere" views and your penchant for making excuses for Putin.

    Sure, the Moscow Patriarchate is perfectly free to claim their brand of Orthodoxy is the True Church. More power to them. But it's one thing to claim you are the true church. It's quite another thing to viciously persecute Christians who believe differently. There is a growing body of evidence -- well documented evidence, including shocking video evidence -- that the Russians and their fellow travelers in places like Donetsk are indeed systematically persecuting and suppressing Catholics, Protestants, and Kievan Orthodox.

    This is the 21st century, not the 11th. If Russia wants to be taken seriously as a modern democratic state and diplomatic partner with other free states, it must tolerate religious pluralism. I don;t see any way around this.

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    1. Diane, I completely agree with this summation, and much like you, I often, if not usually, agree with John. And I really think he has gone a bit overboard with this statement concerning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which by the way is the only Orthodoxy that has a normal and healthy attitude towards the west, "The Kyiv Patriarchate isn't really Orthodox and is kind of a tool of Western liberals."

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    2. We're not the world's cop; thinking we are is leftist. Donetsk is not my problem. (Put another way, the left wants to turn Donetsk into San Francisco.) There's no such thing as a "Kievan Orthodox Church" much like the Old Catholics based in Utrecht aren't really Catholic.

      You're adopting Western liberalism to attack the Russians, like the mainstream wants you to. (Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Catholics makes the same mistake.) It's a trap, a form of selling out the faith, though of course that's not your intent. Also: what if the Ukrainians the mainstream is backing turn out to be neo-Nazis? I hope the Ukraine ends up a conservative Slavic state not owned by the West, but in which Catholics are welcome. Which would make sense since Ukrainian Catholics are probably the most patriotic Ukrainians (the exiles I knew 30 years ago were), because historically they aren't part of Russia.

      Some Orthodox are relatively nice to us, recognizing our orders as we, by our doctrine, do theirs. (Because 75-125 years ago, as Slavic immigrants to America, they were Catholic so to deny us would be to deny themselves.) The Kyiv Patriarchate cozies up to the Ukrainian Catholic Church for its own reason, a real or imagined nationalist common cause (shared opposition to Russia), but they're not squishy ecumenists; they want the Ukrainian Catholics to join them as THE Ukrainian church. But food for thought: might "normal and healthy attitude to the West" (I've just said why I don't think that's really so of the KP) and "not really Orthodox" be connected here?

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  2. "This is the 21st century, not the 11th. If Russia wants to be taken seriously as a modern democratic state and diplomatic partner with other free states, it must tolerate religious pluralism. I don;t see any way around this."

    Interestingly enough, the resistance of Orthodox Christianity to "religious pluralism" (which is what influences Russian governmental policy on this point) strengthens her case to be the ancient Church, which was characterized both by a strong union of Church and State as well as little toleration for heresy.

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