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Another Rebuff from the Russian Schismatics

Margaret C. Galitzin

The failure of Catholic-Russian Schismatic dialogue becomes more apparent each year, at least to everyone except Pope Benedict XVI and his Vatican ecumenical experts. Here are a few recent incidents that reflect the dismal tone of these inter-confessional relations.

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Benedict presides over the ecumenical vespers with Schismatics
In this month of January the Vatican officially announced that the Pauline Year would start on June 28th and be full of ecumenical events. This fits with Benedict XVI’s announcement at the beginning of his pontificate that his top priority would be ecumenism. Topping that agenda would be to mend fences with the Eastern Schismatic Churches, especially the Russian one. In fact, Benedict has been wooing Russian patriarch Alexis II with the same insistence and subservience that JPII showed before him.

The Vatican warmly invited Alexis II to the opening of the ecumenical “year of St. Paul” in June. (1) The news spread that relations were warming, there was a very good chance the invitation would be accepted, all the normal gossip that finds its way to press organs to maintain optimism that ecumenism is progressing, and thus the concessions are paying off.

These romantic expectations shortly revealed themselves to be far from the truth. On January 24 Rome Interfax news agency reported that the invitation from the Vatican was cursorily rejected by the head of the Russian Schismatic Church. (2) Why? Despite all the ecumenical concessions by Pope Benedict, “relations remain strained,” Alexis stated. (3)

Still too many conversions in the Ukraine, perhaps, despite the fact that Pope Benedict XVI, following JPII’s policy, has sent clear instructions to Catholic clergy in Russia that there should be no missionary work. I am speaking of missionary efforts like those of the past that aimed at bringing people to the Catholic Faith. The modern charitable work such as AIDS centers, food and immunization centers, etc., wrongly called “missionary efforts,” receive Vatican support.

Straining hard to keep relations strained...

To know how high-handed and unreasonable Alexis II has become in his dealings with the Vatican, consider the new charge he brought against it last week on January 23, 2008. He pretends to be wounded because the Vatican would have “deliberately orchestrated to exclude the Moscow patriarchate” from the meeting of the joint “Orthodox”-Catholic theological commission that met in Ravenna in October.(4)

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Schismatics at the Ravenna meeting in October 2007
He claims that the presence of the Estonian “orthodox” delegation was intended to provoke a reaction from the Russian Schismatic participants. In fact, the Russian delegation walked out of the meeting to protest the Estonian’s being there. The Russian Schismatics don’t recognize the independence of the Estonian Schismatics, who refused the leadership of the former in 1996.

Even though I strongly disagree with these ecumenical meetings, Alexis’ charge is unsubstantiated. The Ravenna meeting was convoked with the purpose of finding common ground to mend the deep rift between the Catholics and Schismatics. When Russia, the largest and most influential of the Schismatic splinters, walked out, the meeting could not meet its goal. And the final declaration of the meeting – despite the positive spin the Catholic press tried to give it – was the report of a party where the main star left in a fit after insulting the host. That is, the final declaration lost its punch. This is exactly what the Vatican did not want.

Clearly Alexis II is continuing his agenda of humiliating the Vatican as much and as often as possible..

Alexis, a former KGBer still in action

While Alexis continues to cold shoulder the Vatican, he is displaying blatant, unreserved support for Putin and his increasingly Soviet-style government. Since Putin’s term as president of the Russian Federation is ending, he plans to put a crony - Dmitiri Medvedev - in the presidency so that he can manipulate him at his convenience. The Tablet, a London news magazine, reported recently that Alexis II had publicly affirmed his support for the plan of Putin, who would stay on as prime minister of Medvedev and effectively hold on to power. Alexis said:

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The mutual support between the two KGB agents is more active than ever
“I think this would be a great blessing for Russia. Having known Vladimir Vladimirovitch [Putin] for years, I can acknowledge that ambition and pride have never prevailed in his activities.”(5)

These are words that could only come from the lips of an accomplice. Even the liberal press is calling Vladimir Putin the “aspiring dictator of Russia,” hungry for power and brutal before anyone or anything that stands in his way. (6) There is nothing complex or fuzzy about the significance of Putin's recent actions. He is imposing a dictatorship on the country in the most characteristic Communist style: consolidating power, imprisoning critics, muzzling the Russian media, tightening alliances with Communist countries, encouraging all kinds of attacks against the United States, and trying to blackjack neighboring countries into bowing to Russia.

But then, we mustn’t forget the ties that bind Alexis II, a former KGB agent, with Putin, the wily former KGB boss.

Communism dead, Russia converted

Just as he made the Schismatics a puppet of the USSR, Alexis II is aligning the Schismatic Church with the Soviet-style Russian Federation. At the same time, Alexis continues to rebuff an ever-groveling Vatican that appears to be open to almost any compromise to achieve its progressivist utopia of a Pan-religion.

Clearly, what is being set aside here is the Fatima message. Our Lady warned that Communism would spread its errors and the world would suffer a terrible chastisement unless 1) the Pope, in union with all the Bishops, would consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart and 2) the Communions of reparation on the First Saturday of each month would be made.

Neither condition has been met. Instead, the progressivist current installed in the Vatican has been “trying to completely dishonor and discredit the message of Our Lady in Fatima,” as Atila Guimaraes points out in his article The Progressivist Challenge to Fatima.

The present Pope in particular has done all in his power to put aside the Third Secret, to finish with the idea that Russia should be converted, and to destroy Fatima as the symbol of restoration of the Catholic Church. On the 90th anniversary of the October miracle at Fatima, when the chastisement was announced by the Virgin and prefigured by the sun spinning out of its orbit, he said not a word. For him, Fatima is past history. To all appearances, for him, the future lies with Vatican II ecumenism and the eventual implantation of the One-World Religion.

The reality is quite different: Communism is not dead and Russia is not converted. Until the present Pope stops insisting the exact opposite and pays heed to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, the Vatican II revolution will not stop, and the days of chastisement draw nearer.
1. Radio Vatican Report, January 21, 2008
2. “Head of Russian Orthodox Church rejects invitation to Rome,” EarthTimes.org, Jan 25, 2008, 3. Ibid.
4. “Russia deliberately excluded from ecumenical talks, Patriarch charges,” DW News online, January 23, 2008.
5. “Patriarch endorses Putin Nominee,” The Tablet, December 22-29, 2007, p. 54.
6. “Stand up to Putin,” Washington Post, September 15, 2004
Posted January 31, 2007


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