Matt C. Abbott
August 23, 2013
'Russia will spread her errors...'
By Matt C. Abbott

    ...If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace....

    – The Blessed Virgin Mary to the children-seers at Fatima in 1917

    (It should be noted that on October 13, the anniversary of the final Fatima apparition, Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)


Could it be that Russia – and its president, Vladimir Putin, in particular – is finally seeing the light, so to speak?

From an Aug. 1 story at LifeSiteNews.com:
    Vladimir Putin has urged the world's political leaders to stop the violent persecutions against Christians that have erupted in many Middle Eastern countries....

    Putin praised the growth of cooperation between the Orthodox Churches and the Russian state, saying, 'We act as genuine partners and colleagues to solve the most pressing domestic and international tasks, to implement joint initiatives for the benefit of our country and people.'

    The Russian Federation recently passed legislation making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal, a move that, while condemned by many European leaders, was strongly supported by the Orthodox Church.

    Putin added ... that the Church was giving Russians a moral compass when so many were looking for help. 'Today when people are once again searching for moral support, millions of our compatriots see it in religion,' he said. 'They trust the wise, pastoral word of the Russian Orthodox Church'.....
I asked Father John Trigilio Jr., author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, for his analysis of this latest development concerning Russia. He graciously provided me with the following response (slightly edited):
    The quintessence and epitome of irony. That is the best way to describe Vladimir Putin's public denunciation of violent persecution of Christian churches in the Middle East. The current president of Russia was also a lieutenant colonel in the KGB; he worked for 16 years in that spy agency of the former Soviet Union. The U.S.S.R. was officially an atheistic state government. Not only did it spy on Christians and their religious leaders, but the KGB itself violently persecuted both the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches throughout the evil empire. Now, one of those same former spies is coming to the defense of Christianity, especially the church.

    Whatever his nefarious motives, the reality is that no other secular leader of Europe – or North America, for that matter – has drawn attention and focus on the spiraling violence afflicted upon Christians and their churches in the Middle East. Islamic extremists and Islamo-fascists are serious and zealous in establishing a Muslim caliphate where Islam is not only the state religion, but the only religion in countries they govern. They also intend to conquer Europe, as did their predecessors of old.

    Vladimir Putin is certainly no Charles Martel, nor is he a Don Juan of Austria. His defense of Christianity is a pragmatic one. Historically, Russia, like the rest of Europe, has its roots in Christianity. That said, there have also been significant pockets of Judaism and Islam within the territory of the former U.S.S.R. Sadly, no outrage at the mistreatment and persecution of Christians in Islamic countries can be heard from France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, et al. European countries with a significant Christian majority population are conspicuously silent. The U.S., where freedom of religion is listed first in the Bill of Rights, is equally silent when Eastern Orthodox or Byzantine Catholic churches are bombed, vandalized and targeted, or when Christian faithful, clergy and religious are harassed, beaten, persecuted and murdered by Muslim extremists.

    No, I do not trust Vladimir Putin. Once a spy, always a spy. But he does speak the truth. Christians are being persecuted, and something has to be done to stop it. Something has to be done to protect Christianity from being eradicated. The other irony, besides the old KGB spy coming to the defense of the Christian Church, is that some of the very Muslim countries where Christianity is being violently attacked had at one time been oases of Christianity going back to apostolic times.

    It was only after Mohammed founded Islam in the seventh century that former bastions of Eastern Christianity (Coptic in Egypt; Chaldean in Iraq; Melkite in Syria; Maronite in Lebanon) were compelled to accept Islamic rule. Christian churches and communities punctuated the Middle East almost seven centuries before Muslim mosques proliferated the area. The Divine Liturgy and the Christian Bible were around and were known in the area long before the Koran. Christianity is not just part of the history of the Middle East; it is their patrimony. Yet, Christian Europe often remains silent when brother Christians are persecuted and Christian churches are desecrated by Muslim militants and zealots.

    While the patriarch of Moscow and pope in Rome have gotten closer and more cordial to each other in recent times, the secular powers in Russia have been militantly atheistic or, as we now see, zealously Orthodox. Catholic Christians are not seen as equal by the Russian government; they are scrutinized and considered suspicious, just as on mainland communist China. Nevertheless, it is not the leader of the free world who speaks out for persecuted Christianity, but the president of Mother Russia. His motives and agenda are not transparent, but at least someone is saying something.

    All of Europe and indeed NATO should be demanding that the Middle Eastern countries protect Christian churches and Christian citizens from Islamo-fascist reprisals and persecution. These governments should be denied financial and military aid if they turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the plight of persecuted Christianity. That would not be a form of proselytism; instead, it is a matter of justice. Likewise, any state-sponsored or organized pogroms against Judaism should be repudiated and opposed. Judeo-Christians are not the enemy of Islam, but neither should we be its victim, either.

    To ensure that Vladimir has no clandestine scenario behind his public rhetoric, it would be helpful and useful if all historically Christian nations united to defend Christianity as they once did in Tours and Lepanto. If the only spokesman is a former KGB spy, then shame on us who do not challenge our national leaders to follow suit. Where is Congress and the White House on this issue? Where are Christian voters and taxpayers? Why the deadly silence? Fellow Christians are having their churches vandalized and desecrated, their clergy beaten and killed and their people persecuted, and we, Catholic, Protestant and Easter Orthodox, do and say nothing. Shame. Peace and justice in the Middle East must be for all who live there and for all the faiths and religions that have been there for centuries as well, not just one.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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