Speaking in Moscow, the Orthodox prelate charged that Catholic clergy and religious still maintain “an ultimate goal of proselytism among the Orthodox population” in Russia, the Interfax news service reports. Catholic officials have repeatedly denied such a goal.
He either just doesn’t get it… or just doens’t want to see.
What is Patriarch Aleksy -or “Comrade Drozdov—the ‘blackbird’”, as he was known in the KGB parlance – afraid of? Less than 700K Catholics against the state church that is full of priests, monks & seminarians, has history, state support, and the culture behind it.
You know if JP2 of blessed memory, had designs on a “uniate invasion” of Russia, it certainly could have been started.
From around the world it is easy to imagine 1000s of priests and religous mobilized and sent forth – a few dozen Jesuits here, a few dozen Franciscan there, toss in some Dominicans, some Divine Word missionaries, a cadre of Oratorians, a couple of Missionaries of the Poor, toss in some Opus Dei, add a few Miles Jesu members, grab a handful of Legionairies, relieve the over-flowing Benedictines of France of a few members, and relocate some Norbetines, a few extras from the FSSP, some diocesan priests, and a few busloads of newly ordained, rosy-cheeked 20somethings fresh out of the Ukrainian underground and before you know it, you have the makings of a unia and you could be doing land-office business. 4 Million baptists in Russia, you know… Heck, open up a university, and start opening Catholic schools, and they would have filled.
Hey, we all know that there are convents full of little old Fillipino and Italian nuns that can make rosaries faster than you can tie a shoe! Statues of OL of Fatima and scapulars enough for every man woman and child could have flooded the land. Priories, novitiates, seminaries, and other houses of formation could have been filled up. I truly believe more than a few Orthodox priests could have been entreated to enter a unia.
But we didn’t. The Pope didn’t direct that. Some of us might even be tempted to say placation was the order of the day. How many Ukrainian Catholics were exiled? How many parishes do they have in Russia?
Inconvienant fact #1: Catholics who were exiled into the depths of Russia are still Catholic, they live there now, they deserve priests and parishes. It isn’t a Vatican conspiracy. We didn’t plant them there as fifth-columnists. Remember who did.
Inconvienant fact #2:]: There is no “Orthodox gene” in Russian DNA. Holy Osmosis has not set in. The idea that the whole of Russia is Orthodox is blind hubris. [url=http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Russia.asp] Russia is now one of the main producers of child pornography in the world, 6 out of 10 pregnancies in Russia end in abortion. The black market is thriving, drugs & HIV infections are worse than ever… This is not a nation that has wholesale turned to Orthodoxy. I wish to God it were, that’s for sure. But it isn’t.
Inconvienant fact #3: Some Russians – I met two a decade ago in Chicago – have read their way into the Catholic Church. Having access to the world wide web and a command of (in this case Englisyh & German, some Polish) they read about the Catholic Church, and found they agreed with the claims made therein. Some Russians have come to accept the apologia for the Roman Church on their own. Others, not forgetting efforts by the KGB to infiltrate the ROC, do not want to belong to it. We didn’t go looking for them, they came looking for us.
Inconvienant fact #4: Islam is gaining ground in a real and serious way in throughout the whole of the Russian Nation. Does the Patriarch prefer to stymie the growth of the Catholic church so he can deal with that? How does “Catholic proselitizing” compare to the Saudi money that is funding the growth of Islam in Russia and the ex-USSR?
From The Wikipedia article, Religion in Russia:
Using these numbers, one attempt to estimate numbers of practicing followers of different religions in Russia arrives at the following results: 3-15 million Russian Orthodox; 2.8 million Muslim; over 1.5 million Protestant (including at least 900 thousand Pentecostals); no more than 500 thousand Buddhists; 300 thousand followers of New religious movements; 60-200 thousand Roman Catholic; 50-80 thousand Old Believers.
What if the methodologies in that study were problematic and the numbers were double or triple or quadrouple what was reported? That still leaves us with a window of 12-60 members out of a population of 141,377,752
Its time to give up the ghost and quit the saber rattling that “The Catholics are coming! The Catholics are Coming! Jesuit uniate-makers have been spotted on the horizon!”
It is old, it is tired, it is false, and his time and efforts to oppose Catholicism would definately be better spent trying to grow and teach his own faithful.
One wonders, what is he really afraid of and why?