Sunday, February 7, 2016


You can read the complete story or hatchet job, take your pick, by pressing HERE! 

Do you think Patriarch Kirill actually owns a yacht? Here it is at least as reported:
But most damning of all is what the report calls Patriarch Kirill photo-shopping an image which shows him wearing a $30,000 watch.  It is bad enough that there is a before and after shot of this, but in the photo-shopped image where the watch is removed from the Patriarch's wrist, he supposedly forgot to remove its reflection on the glassed desk below his arm! If true this is kind of funny!
What the hatchet job or article points out very clearly is how corruption enters the hierarchy of the Church as well as its laity when it is in league with the state or a dictator or a president or a particular political party.

During the communist era in the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church was infiltrated with Communists more loyal to its atheistic Utopian ideology than to the Church.


Gene said...

"We've left all to follow thee."

Anonymous said...

I don't care what the patriarch does or doesn't do because I am not Orthodox. But I care what the pope does.

Why is Francis considered "humble"? Because he lives in a hotel instead of the traditional papal apartments? He apartment is the entire second floor of that "hotel" which has more square feet than the apostolic palace. But we never hear about that. So how is that more humble.

Everything that is considered "humble" seems to be done in a spotlight and calculated. No judgement, just an observation.

Take for instance the latest planned "humble" act. Francis asked publicly if he could be left alone and not bothered in Mexico City when he visits the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Not only is that unecessary but ungracious as well. Why did he feel the need to do this publicly? He is the Pope and he is visiting a Catholic shrine. All he had to do was inform the responsible parties that a scheduled time is to be set aside for him to pray alone in front of the miraculous image.....and guess what....a period of time would have been set aside for him to pray alone before the miraculous image of Our Lady. Why make a big thing about it. Why? Why must everything be so public. And I guarantee he is planning some "humble" gesture when he meets the patriarch in Cuba. You can just tell it's all calculated and planned. I don't understand it.

Anonymous said...

Hatchet job or just reporting facts? It's hard to say. However anyone who knows about post revolutionary Russian history can tell you that most of the orthodox bishops ended up being operatives for the KGB. Is that really his stuff? How can we know. Praising Putin? Another mystery. There is plenty of evidence that Putin rose through the ranks largely as an unscrupulous KGB thug. Yet this is the same Putin who shows 100 times more moral backbone than the US president and has openly proclaimed his faith in God. Russia and its people remain a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Dialogue said...

As gob would say, "nice hat".

Mark Thomas said...


Mark Thomas

Gene said...

Ain't nuthin' humble about this Pope. Pedestrian vestments, second rate accommodations, and Dixie cups do not make "humble."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't like the who's most humble game. Pope Francis stated explicitly that he lives in the Vatican hotel because he wants to be closer to regular people and freer that being isolated in the former papal residence. He has also stated that he lives in the hotel because of psychological concerns.

Pope Francis is aJesuit and as such has taken a vow of poverty. He has been quite authentic in living this vow as a priest, bishop and Cardinal. I will not begrudge him his choices in vesture and taste.

But with that said, for any pope to embrace the trappings of the institution and traditions of the papacy is an act of humility. For Pope Francis given his antipathy towards papal "kingdom, majesty" vesture and trappings to embrace these would truly be an act of humility on his part.

Dialogue said...

It's my understanding that canonical vows pertaining to the evangelical counsels are dispensed for bishops.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes because they are corporation sole. But I suspect they can continue to live their poverty vow personally.

Dialogue said...

Good point. The Code does say that all members of the clergy "are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity".

Mark Thomas said...

What spurs me to believe that His Holiness Pope Francis is humble is that he bows before God. That is, Pope Francis has identified himself as a sinner who is in need of God's mercy. Pope Francis worships God via the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as compared to hundreds of millions of people, Catholics and otherwise, who refuse to do so. He goes to Confession.

Pope Francis doesn't trample people. He doesn't seek to lord it over people. He doesn't curry favor with the wealthy elite of the world. He exhorts us to flee Satan and the Culture of Death. Pope Francis points the way to the Culture of Life. Pope Francis is the opposite of the warmongers and elite who plunge the world into war and ruin.

Pope Francis is a Peacemaker. Peace and good health to Pope Francis.


Mark Thomas

George said...

I have never considered whether Orthodox Priests take the vow of poverty or not. It may be that the watch is a gift. The Patriarch said in an interview that he no longer wears it. The fact that it was air brushed indicates that there was concern about the appearance that wearing such a watch would give.

One thing which presents itself to me when the subject of the Easterns comes up it the close alignment of each Church with the governing body of the eponymous political subdivision or jurisdiction from wence it takes its name. The closest example I could find in the Western ecclesial tradition is the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Not a perfect example to be sure and it is not recognized by the Vatican. Even in countries which are, and have been predominantly Roman Catholic, there has at times been tensions and conflict between the Church and the governing ruler or entity. I don't know if Eastern Orthodox have this all that much in their history. I do realize that when it came to those countries where rulers and ideologies hostile to Christianity had taken over., there were times when self-preservation came into play.

The Catholic Church is not subject or aligned with any political jurisdiction. It is independent and sovereign. Vatican City can be viewed as the capital of the ecclesial kingdom of the Church worldwide, of which her members have a spiritual citizenship. This should remind us that where there is a conflict between what the state espouses and what the Church teaches, our first allegiance is (or certainly should be) to God under the guidance of His Holy and Divine Truth.

Gerbert d' Aurillac said...

This is the great weakness of the Orthodox, they become to closely aligned with the political powers, and to there own detriment. Orthodoxy is also too nationalistic, does not show the true universal nature of the church as the western church does. Patriarch Krill and his predecessor have been at odd with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, causing a great amount of friction with in the Orthodox community. He is very political, I hope and pray the Spirit will guide him to trust and reconciliation.

Marc said...

Let's think about this charge that the Orthodox are too closely aligned to the political powers. Do you remember when the pope ruled the Papal States and led armies into battle? Heck, the pope is still the head of a nation-state. And one could also mention the impact of the Catholic bishops on the American political process both now and in the past. The Catholic Church has always been involved with political powers.

And Orthodoxy isn't any more nationalistic than the Catholic Church, especially post-Vatican II. We have national conferences of bishops with different holy days of obligation and different translations in every country. We have a history featuring things like Gallicanism and other nationalist movements, including the creation of entire countries as Catholic places.

The friction between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Moscow Patriarchate is an old battle about things like autocephaly going back 1,000 years and continues because the EP insists of false ecumenism, which the MP detests as a result of Catholic uniatism in places like Ukraine.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But Marc, Marc the Orthodox Church is stuck in a time warp religiously and politically, circa 1054. They are only now after 1,000years planning a Great Council. Politically they are still Byzantine and stuck in the 1054 mentality. The fullness of the Church in union with Peter has always been more progressive. The concord with Italy removed all the Papal States by the early 20th century. Orthodoxy still thinks in terms of 1054 when there was Christendom and the Church was the state which brought great corruption to both east and west with pwople seeking high Church office for political power. The Catholic Church thanks to the French Revolution has found better ways to influence politics rather than being wedded to the State. Keep in mind that part of Lebfebrev ideology was to overturn the French Revolution and exert a more Christendom mentality with the Church ruling.

George said...


"Do you remember when the pope ruled the Papal States and led armies into battle? Heck, the pope is still the head of a nation-state".

>Times and circumstances led to things being the way that had developed up to that time.

" And one could also mention the impact of the Catholic bishops on the American political process both now and in the past. The Catholic Church has always been involved with political powers."

>That gets to the point I was alluding to in my comment. When has the Orthodox leadership ever challenged rulers or the political ruling class on decisions or laws that had to do with say, violations of moral law? I do realize that it is easier in a country such as the United States, where there is more freedom. In China, as happened in other times and places, the officially recognized Catholic Church went underground rather than compromise with the ruling political party there.

Marc said...

Father, as I've told you several times before, the Orthodox have had ecumenical councils since 1054. The last major council happened around the time of Vatican I. I don't know what it means to be stuck in 1054, and I suspect you don't know what you mean by that either.

Being progressive and learning from the French Revolution are not good things. I am well aware of Abp. Lefebvre's discussions on the French Revolution. I agree with his assessment, obviously. I'm not sure what that has to do with the Orthodox.

Вася Людоедов said...

"The fullness of the Church in union with Peter has always been more progressive."...The Orthodox Church of Christ is always in Communion (union) with Peter, whose successor is the Patriarch of Antioch. But how about the catholic church, Are you in communion with James, Andrew, Mark, and other apostles?

Anonymous said...

"...stuck in 1054..."
And, that's a bad thing because...?

Marc said...

George, first, with regard to your purported excuse of time and circumstances, you are correct. My point is that we have read here criticisms of the Orthodox for the same sorts of things that the Catholic Church has engaged in for a very long time. My only point is that the criticism is hypocritical given our history.

To the extent that Orthodox prelates are aligned with political entities, which is not demonstrably true, this is a charge that could just as well be laid at the Catholic Church for the vast majority of our history. Political powers have served to shape much of what we recognize as Catholic, from the Mass to the Creed itself. That is not an inherently bad thing since there should be a cohesion between the state and the Church -- Christ is king in an eternal as well as temporal fashion. To suggest a firm distinction is to buy into errors arising from post-enlightenment political theory, which is not a Catholic understanding of politics.

Second, Orthodox bishops and clergy challenge rulers and the political ruling class all the time. You just don't read about it because (1) you don't live in an Orthodox country, and (2) you don't follow Orthodox news circles. As for the Church going underground in a politically dangerous atmosphere rather than compromising the faith, perhaps you've heard about that time that Russia was communist and thousands of Orthodox clergy and laity were martyred at the hands of the atheists for participating in the underground Church?

jusadbellum said...

I think Marc is on to something. After all, how many of us decry the fact that the vast majority of our bishops are members of the Democratic party? The majority of nuns vote Democrat every time. Most of our priests do as well. It stands to reason since the big-machine politics of the big cities coincide with the Democratic party. The symbiotic relationship forged in the 1920s has remained solid in most places. They genuinely believe that big, centralized government (with them involved) is better than liberty and the private sector. Despite the evident ruin of these cities, they continue to cling to this political world view and while it doesn't directly color their theology it does inform their moral teaching: they avoid any topic that would be politically inexpedient to their party.

Thus to be a conservative (or member of the GOP) is almost to enter heresy with respect to the 'official' church except on the pro-life plank. But even there we get precious support from the hierarchy and religious and 'professional' Catholics inasmuch as they're embarrassed for their party but not enough to leave it.

This is why abortion is still legal. It's why gay marriage was rammed down our throats by 2 Catholic SCOTUS judges (Sotomayor and Kennedy): their allegiance is first to party, not faith.

Dialogue said...

The Papal States were established when there was no secular power capable of protecting the freedom of the chair of Peter. The modern and very tiny Vatican City State is hardly worth consideration in discussions about priestly temporal power.

There was never a time when the greater kingdoms of Europe were so unified with the Church as to render them indistinguishable. The idea of the government-run church is Masonic, not Catholic, in origin.

Nationalism is a 19th century fantasy that finds no place in Catholic doctrine.

The French Revolution sought to destroy the Church, while the American Revolution created a secular state with constitutional protections for religion.

Denver won Super Bowl L.

Flavius Hesychius said...

According to wiki, 1 country is officially Orthodox (Greece) whilst 2 give special recognition to Orthodoxy: Georgia and Bulgaria.

On the other hand 4 countries are officially Catholic (excluding Vatican City) and 9 give special recognition to Catholicism.

So... whence the hypocrisy? Or, are going to write a post condemning the Catholic Church in those nations?

Jusadbellum said...

Superbowl L. No wonder they switched to Arabic numbers this year. No one would figure out the Latin for 50 is "L". Now, XLIX (49) had people scratching their heads but they were used to it. a simple L would through them for a loop.

I always thought the Orthodox problem was one of always being part of an empire whereas the Latin rite had to deal with collapse of Empire and pagan kingdoms for centuries and centuries after 400 AD. By the 1050s, the West had practical experience differentiating Church from politics (what with the investiture crisis and persecutions etc.) whereas in the East the only game in town was Constantinople and the only 'kingdom' was the Byzantine. So it's easy to assume a symbiotic relationship with the Church and Christian state. They rise and fall together.

Dialogue said...


I admit that one good thing coming from Arabia was their system of numbering, but I still like our own.

I like your summation of the East-West developments.

George said...


"...since there should be a cohesion between the state and the Church -- Christ is king in an eternal as well as temporal fashion. To suggest a firm distinction is to buy into errors arising from post-enlightenment political theory, which is not a Catholic understanding of politics."

We are citizens of the Republic as well as having a spiritual citizenship within the Church. Moral issues intersect and coincide with political ones. The Church, through her episcopal ministers, speaks to these things, as she is obligated to do so.

"Second, Orthodox bishops and clergy challenge rulers and the political ruling class all the time. You just don't read about it because (1) you don't live in an Orthodox country, and (2) you don't follow Orthodox news circles."

That's a good point. I find the Orthodox Church and what I know of it's history (which I admit is not enough) quite fascinating. I know that in the Catholic nations of Central and South America you have had the Church at various times at odds not only with rightist authoritarianism when it has assumed political governance, but also with leftist liberation theology and communism when it was in the ruling government. Of course there have been times when some of her members, even in the episcopate, have sided with one or another also. I think it is a good thing for the Church to challenge those in power when it comes to issues of morality. If the Orthodox rulers are doing and have done this, then it is a good thing. I do recognize that there is the issue of religious and poltical freedom which differs from country to country(sometimes a great deal) from what we have in the United States. The religious pogroms under the communists left the Russian Orthodox Church in a sad state. The state ended up with the Orthodox church it helped to create and which it could work with. Since the fall of communist rule, the Orthodox church there (from what I've read) has made progress in recovering from what happened to it under Stalin and Kruschev. Freedom of religion means a Church truly independent of any control by the State with the right to exercise its voice of moral authority without interference or retribution.

Marc said...

George, from a philosophical perspective, "freedom of religion" does not mean a Church independent of state control. Since the idea of "freedom of religion" has its genesis in the state, the state gets to decide what the concept means. Ultimately, whatever freedom the Church is a result of the state's benevolence, which waxes and wanes dependent on any number of factors. Moreover, freedom of religion coming from the state is necessarily an indifferentist conception of religion that violates the rights of God to be worshiped properly.

The idea of freedom of religion as coming from the state is a product of the post-enlightenment political theory that I was mentioning earlier. It is not a part of the Catholic teaching on political theory. The Church teaches that the state has no authority to grant or rescind religious "freedom." The freedom to submit to God and worship him comes from God alone, and any attempt by the state of circumscribe that right is a violation of the natural law to which no one can be bound.

As we are seeing the indifferentist freedom of religion and the pluralism that it promotes is bound to fail when irreligion takes hold. The freedom of religion of the post-enlightenment necessarily becomes the freedom from religion of post-modernism. That freedom from religion will invariably turn into a totalitarian genocide against religion, and the cycle will repeat itself since the answer, both naturally and supernaturally, is the recognition of the state of the rights of Christ the King and the subjection of the political sphere and all the natural order to Christ.

It would appear that, post-Christendom, this is an eschatological possibility only, but all things are possible with God.

George said...

It was not my intent to convey that "freedom of religion" comes from the state.
What I was saying was that a Church or religious group or denomination should have independence apart from state interference to exercise its voice of moral authority. This is just part of what constitutes "freedom of religion" which of course would include the right to freely worship.
We know that states ruled by philosophies and ideologies opposed to this right do control or repress religious groups. Some allow a limited right to freely worship.
Now, the state does have the right and obligation to proscribe religious rituals and practices which would harm others for example. So the right to freedom of religion is not absolute and is itself bound by adherence and conformance to Divine and natural law.

I agree completely with Church teaching that the state has no authority to grant or rescind religious "freedom", and that the right to freely worship within the bounds of Divine and natural law comes from God alone.

George said...

The Holy Church of God, her capital situated as it is in its own temporal state, exercises the privilege and obligation to proclaim of the Truth as it regards faith and morals, in order to confront and call to correction the errors of earthly powers, and to do so without the hindrance,impediment, or interference of those who oppose her, and all this by the gift of Divine grace and the beneficence and benevolence of God. The Church exists in the Temporal plane and likewise in the Eternal and so it carries out its mission in both spheres as the pre-eminent voice of moral and spiritual authority in the world. May she always maintain her independence from any domination or subjugation by those who oppose her.

Gene said...

Speaking of the State and religious freedom, the US Constitution is about as un-Biblical as you can get. All men are not created equal (totally un-Biblical), there are no "inalienable rights" (life, liberty, happiness are gifts from God and dependent upon His grace). The Constitution is, through and through, an Enlightenment, rationalist document. However, as a foundation for a nation on earth, it is hard to beat in its properly applied intent. But, it has not been properly applied for some time now.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - What practical shape, pre-eschaton, does your understanding of Freedom of Religion take?

Were we to arrive at, "recognition of the state of the rights of Christ the King and the subjection of the political sphere and all the natural order to Christ," who would be the temporal law-giver? The Pope? An ecumenical council?

In such a system, what freedom of religion would non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians have? Would they be allowed to worship according to their conscience? Would they be allowed to build churches, mosques, synagogues, temples? Could a non-Catholic individual hold public office? Would atheism be declared a capital crime, punishable by death?

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, you are intentionally misreading Marc and trying to setup yet another straw man. I hope Marc will respond, but he tells me he is giving up the blog for Lent.

Anonymous said...

Re: "freedom of religion" - Has anyone here ever read the preamble to the Constitution of Ireland? It is a real eye opener when contrasted with constitutions of most western nations. Very succinct and honest as to where their people's ultimate allegiance lies, or should. A beautiful document, for the preamble alone. And the real beauty of it lies in the fact that their statement of faith is only in the preamble and not in the body (articles) of the constitution, thereby excluding any notions of theocracy. Simple, elegant. Makes one wonder, that when most American colonists in the 18th century would have considered themselves Christian, for what reason would they not include a similar statement in our constitution's preamble??