Voices from Russia

Monday, 26 July 2010

26 July 2010. Gleanings From My Reading… Thoughts to Share… and to Ponder…

Filed under: intellectual — 01varvara @ 00.00

Of course, there may be corrupt men in sound institutions, but when institutions are corrupting, many of the men who live and work in them are necessarily corrupted. In the corporate era, economic relations become impersonal… and the executive feels less personal responsibility. Within the corporate worlds of business, war-making, and politics, the private conscience is attenuated… and the higher immorality is institutionalised. It is not merely a question of a corrupt administration in corporation, army, or state; it is a feature of the corporate rich, as a capitalist stratum, deeply intertwined with the politics of the military state.

A society that is in its higher circles and on its middle levels widely believed to be a network of smart rackets does not produce men with an inner moral sense; a society that is merely expedient does not produce men of conscience. A society that narrows the meaning of “success” to the big money and in its terms condemns failure as the chief vice, raising money to the plane of absolute value, will produce the sharp operator and the shady deal. Blessed are the cynical, for only they have what it takes to succeed.

America… a conservative country without any conservative ideology… appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivialising campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.

C Wright Mills

The Power Elite

(1956, Oxford University Press)

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Today’s theologians have become scientists, like doctors, chemists, and engineers, because by presenting themselves as such, they will be honoured by the world. They go to Europe, a place of spiritual darkness, to receive a degree. They stuff their heads with a multitude of ungrounded and vain philosophies, and come to our land to transmit their unbelief instead of the Faith… They do not enter into the Heavenly Kingdom, and hinder others from entering, as our Lord said. Their punishment is that they do not see any of the wondrous things that the believers see, and, hence, they lack contrition and are cold. They are separated from God and His Kingdom, because they love the glory of men, instead of the glory of God.

They endeavour today, with the plight of the Church, to find its causes, and hold that the answer is to be found in scientific theological education. However, the evil is to be remedied only by education in piety… What will it benefit the Church if students go to (say) Geneva? They will return with Protestant principles. These same persons tell us that our Church has remained behind a whole century. How good it would have been if the members of the Church today had the piety of those who lived a century ago! External [secular] scientific education is fine only when it is joined to piety.

Photios Kontoglou

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“Ah, that is different!” said Boxer. “If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right”.

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL…
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

George Orwell

Animal Farm

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I wanted to show people the real art world, a world of backstabbers, sharks, and con artists… not the salon world of tea-drinking aesthetes.

Thomas Hoving

Former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York NY USA

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1. Benjamin

Benjamin, a donkey, is one of the longest-lived animals, has the worst temper, and is one of the few who can read. Benjamin is a very dedicated friend to Boxer, and does nothing to warn the other animals of the pigs’ corruption, which he secretly realises is steadily unfolding. When asked if he was happier post-Revolution than before the Revolution, Benjamin remarks, “Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey”. He’s sceptical and pessimistic, his most-often-made statement being “Life will go on as it has always gone on… that is, badly”. But, he’s also one of the wisest animals on the farm, and is able to “read as well as any pig”.

2. Moses the Raven

An old crow who occasionally visits the farm, regaling its denizens with tales of a wondrous place beyond the clouds called Sugarcandy Mountain, where he avers that all animals go when they die… but only if they work hard. He’s interpreted as symbolising the Russian Orthodox Church, with Sugarcandy Mountain an allusion to Heaven for the animals. He spends his time turning the animals’ minds to thoughts of Sugarcandy Mountain (rather than their work), yet, does no work himself. He feels unequal in comparison to the other animals, so he leaves after the rebellion, for all animals were supposed to be equal. However, much later in the novel, he returns to the farm and continues to proclaim the existence of Sugarcandy Mountain. The other animals are confused by the pigs’ attitude towards Moses; they denounce his claims as nonsense, but allow him to remain on the farm. The pigs do this to keep any doubting animals in line with the hope of a happy afterlife, keeping their minds on Sugarcandy Mountain and not on possible uprisings. In the end, Moses is one of the few animals to remember The Rebellion, along with Clover, Benjamin, and the pigs.

3. The Cat

Never seen to carry out any work, the cat is absent for long periods, but she’s forgiven because her excuses are so convincing and she “purred so affectionately that was impossible not to believe in her good intentions”. She has no interest in the politics of the farm, and the only time she’s recorded as having participated in an election she was found to have actually “voted on both sides”.

Notes on Orwell’s “Animal Farm”

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An intelligent, energetic, educated woman cannot be kept in four walls… even satin-lined, diamond-studded walls… without discovering sooner or later that they are still a prison cell.

Pearl S Buck

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If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labour, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it, or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world.

Frederick Douglass

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I am in earnest… I will not equivocate… I will not excuse… I will not retreat a single inch… AND I WILL BE HEARD.

William Lloyd Garrison

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Ignorance is caused by the circumstances of one’s life, whereas stupidity is due to an attitude problem or mental deficiency in the person concerned.

From the Internet

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This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.

Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

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Here are some things that I read over the past few months… I submit that you can learn as much about someone from what a person picks from another’s writing, as you can from studying their own work. They got my brain into gear… what about yours? Cheers to all of you… and smile… it’s a beautiful world that Our Lord made for us. Don’t be a “misery guts with a face three feet long”… after all, Our Lord invented the smile… it’s got His fingerprints all over it!

BMD

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Paedophiles Under the Hooves of Lucifer

Filed under: Christian,legal,moral issues,religious,Roman Catholic — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Descent into Hell

Duccio di Buonosegna

early 14th century

That’s what we can do with the demons and their works… kick ’em out and kick ’em hard… but we must expose them and see that both heavenly and earthly justice is done. Anyone who tells you that you must hide the misdeeds of crook clergy “for the good of the Church” is evil, and must be treated accordingly.

______________________________

Sexual scandals involving members of the Catholic clergy forced the Vatican to new guidelines for the clergy; they blamed the Devil…

A high-profile scandal associated with numerous cases of paedophilia by priests of the Catholic Diocese of Dublin, which began in Ireland in 2009, was followed by new revelations of sexual predators in cassocks in other European countries and the USA. According to criminal statistics, most often the victims of these paedophiles were young boys, which points up homosexuality as being part of the problem. A long term investigation saw 100 Irish priests charged with paedophilia, many of whom have pleaded guilty. Investigations are now being conducted in other European countries, including the homeland of the Pope, in Germany.

Benedict XVI, the Pope of Rome, issued a pastoral letter on 20 March 2010, in which he apologised for the Irish Catholic priests accused of paedophilia. In his message, he said that clerical paedophiles must answer for their deeds “before God Almighty and before the relevant earthly tribunal”. Benedict XVI accused the priests of inflicting “enormous damage on the victims” and “betrayal” of the Church. It is important to note that the psychological trauma inflicted in childhood continues to plague the victims of abuse, and often undermines their psyche for the rest of their life. For absolution, Pope Benedict advised the guilty “to pray and repent sincerely”. Nevertheless, the pope felt it necessary to reassure these sinners, urging them “not to despair of the mercy of God, Who is ready to forgive a sincere penitent”. It seems to me that a spell in prison would be a far more effective “obedience” for these child rapists, especially if European prisoners share the same ideas [concerning child molesters] as their Russian “colleagues” do.

However, Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Belgian bishops condemned the searches conducted on 24 June 2010 by police in Belgium at the residence of the Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium during an investigation of clerical paedophiles. On the same day, the cops seized about 500 files, as well as a computer of one of the clerics in the church office of the special commission to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. If the seized documents confirm that some priests for decades systematically obstructed the fact that paedophiles be brought to justice, the justice system will be able to talk about the complicity of church hierarchs in the creation of a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of the Belgian city of Bruges resigned, admitting that he had sexually abused juveniles under his care for a long period in the 1980s. The Pope, in his message, called the police action “sudden” and “deplorable”, expressing solidarity with the Belgian bishops “during this sad time”. Obviously, this is the way of police work… to enter the suspect’s living space without warning, to surprise him; otherwise, they would commit a new crime. It is likely that a more significant reason for the expression of sorrow and sadness was that he hoped that it would lead to a concealment of evidence and facts from the investigation that could justify or confirm the violation of the law by the clergy.

Such crimes against children forced us to draw attention to a certain circle of corrupt clergy, which complicated the process of investigation, giving the court suspicion that they, ultimately, inspired other paedophiles, including “civilians”, to new “exploits”. The Holy See, and the Pope himself, has repeatedly been subjected to harsh criticism from the public and in the world media. According to Fr Federico Lombardi, a Vatican expert, according to a new set of rules, the statute of limitations in crimes against minors was increased from ten to 20 years, and sexual assault against a mentally retarded person is tantamount to a crime against minors. As Fr Federico pointed up, the rules recommend that the most serous offences against minors be investigated expeditiously. “Expeditiously” means that the usual legal proceedings would be replaced by “a special decree or very serious cases of paedophilia will be reported to the Pope himself, who will decide whether or not the guilty priests will be defrocked”.

“The devil tempts everybody… politicians, businessmen, and sportsmen. Of course, first and foremost, he seduces leaders, including religious leaders. So, don’t be surprised that he suddenly corrupted someone in the Vatican, that’s what he does”, according to the Vatican’s chief exorcist Fr Gabriele Amorth, who has some knowledge of the depth of the problem. What does the exorcist do? He expels demons from a possessed person by prayer or by the laying on of hands. The main thing is to give a clear definition of the latter concept, coordinated with local law, so that exorcism would not be considered by the justice system as sexual harassment. “In the Vatican, I can only see good men… men of prayer, holy men, I don’t see evil. I conducted the rite of exorcism over several priests, who had been plagued by the devil. Paedophiles are not possessed by devils, but they are tempted by them”, Fr Gabriele said, without going into details of the sacrament, noting that cases of exorcism of paedophiles were unknown to him. Paedophiles, he said, “do not need exorcism; they must confess their sin and turn to God… that’s what they need”, emphasising that their repentance “must be sincere and true”.

Finally, it seems that the victims of rapists now know the name of the perpetrator of the violence against them, and law enforcement agencies will now be able to concentrate their efforts on capturing the “main seducer”, since they have such a clear description. By unwritten custom, priests suspected of committing illegal acts, even in secular states, [avoid jail]. As a rule, the prosecution sidesteps criminal prosecution; punishment is limited to censuring the clergy and granting monetary compensation to the victims. Evidently, it’s worth a refresher on the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus Christ… it’s the cornerstone of Christianity. Apparently, still, a paedophile in jeans is different from a paedophile with a prayer rope, and the implementation of the principle of equality before the law and justice as embodied in most legislation internationally is still selective.

19 July 2010

Vasili Amirdzhanov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/07/19/12763474.html

Editor’s Note:

There has been much ignorant drivel written about the clergy paedophilia scandal amongst the RCs from Orthodox sources… especially by nappy-wearing konvertsy such as Rod Dreher. Firstly, we are NOT innocent… we should not be throwing stones. Everyone knows why JP’s invitation to Feodosy Lazor to serve liturgy at St Tikhon’s this year was so scandalous… it’s common knowledge… that’s why we cannot point fingers. I can’t understand it. These malevolent and nasty children jump up and down condemning the misfortune of others… yet, refuse to see the glaring truth of what happens at home (and how it affects them).

I truly sympathise with my RC friends… we Orthodox know what it means for wicked clergy to get away with “murder” (I’m using a figure of speech, kiddies). “The records simply don’t exist”… no, we have NO right to criticise others when we supinely accept such shit. Can anyone spell, “Raymond Velencia?” THAT’S why we can’t condemn others… we should reflect well that JP has not punished or censured Bobby K, the Iggster, or Mr Velencia.

God is being kind to the RCs… their sins are being exposed… they shall deal with them, as a result. Ours are being hidden… and those of us who say anything are accused of being “unchurchly”, “satanic”, or “disloyal to the church”. As long as I have breath, I shall speak up… that is my duty as an Orthodox Christian. To remain silent is to give assent… think on that. We SHALL render an accounting of our deeds, after all…

BMD

26 July 2010. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words… Get a Load of what’s Written on His футболке!

That’s Andrei Fursenko (1949- ), the RF Minister of Education, at the biker rally in Sevastopol on Saturday. Get a load of what’s written on the back of his футболке… с Нами бог! (God is with us!)… nothing more need be said. Keep THIS in mind whenever you hear some gaseous convert condemning modernity… betcha that they had their A/C on during the recent heat wave!

BMD

26 July 2010. Random Ruminations From Your Editor…

Filed under: Christian,moral issues,Orthodox life,religious,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism”.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)

US Senator from Arizona (1953-65, 1969-87)

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Recently, someone chided me for being close to Anglicanism and not being “churchly” in my writing… I kid you not! Of course, they relied on third-hand internet gossip… we all know how “reliable” that can be! As for being close to the Anglicans in spirit, anyone who has read my posts knows that is nowhere near the truth. As for this not being “churchly”… I have always reiterated that this is a secular venue. In the Orthodox homelands, there is as much reportage on the Church by the secular press as there is from Church sources, indeed, there may be more. In the diaspora, for many years, the only information available was from official Church sources; of course, that meant that much of was released was mere wind, nothing but pietistic cheerleading and worthless pseudo-hagiography. Now, with the Internet, other voices are coming forth. In Russia and Greece, the Church doesn’t sit on the sidelines. It listens to the secular media and the internet; for they’re a force for good… they helped to hasten the downfall of Nikon Mironov of Yekaterinburg and Diomid Dzyuban.

Of course, the internet is also a force for evil. I have a suggestion… why not do what I do? I pay no attention to tale-bearing gossips, and I don’t “google” private people. If I do “google” someone, it’s because they are a bishop or higher, or they are an official of the Church. I don’t “google” ordinary priests… they deserve their privacy… if you want to find out about them, “google” their parish, not them personally. If I want to know something, I ask the person involved… and I think VERY seriously before I do so. As I wish others to respect my privacy, I must, therefore, respect the privacy of others just as zealously. Anything else would be an offence against decency… you don’t have to drag sin into it! For instance, I heard multiple reports that a certain well-known Orthodox personality was gay… they were not clergy nor did they make a public show of their homosexuality (if, indeed, they were homosexual… we all know the vacuity of much internet chat), ergo, I “buried” the information. That is what decent people do… full stop.

“All right, I agree that gossip and internet chat are bad things, but what are they?”

That’s a good question! Let’s take some real-world examples (but with the players anonymous) so that I can illustrate my point clearly. “Fr X circulated amongst the faithful at Y Monastery so that his fans could kiss his hand and fawn over him. If Abbot Z were alive, that wouldn’t be tolerated”. That’s NOT gossip. It’s something that happened in public… it was not something that was done in private. “Fr X was Treasurer of the Diocese of Y and financial records were found missing”. That’s NOT gossip either, especially if an official statement backs it up. “Fr A became pastor of the second-largest Russian Orthodox parish in B when he was only 26… and his father was priest there for only one month”. That’s “in-between”… you can report that a given individual became pastor of a given parish at a given time… you can’t make an inference because his father was the previous rector. “Fr X got sloshed last night and slept it off under the table”… that’s gossip… it wasn’t public. “Fr X got sloshed, made a public scene, and was nicked by the coppers”… I’d sit on that, unless it was a pattern, but you’d best have some official confirmation on this one.

Good sense tells you what to do… you don’t need to drag Christianity into it. It’s the Golden RuleDo unto others… I shall observe that so-called “Christians” are not good at common decency. I recently received an e-mail from an unknown party demanding to know if I were the editor of this website. Of course, it got no reply. Firstly, I did not give this individual my e-mail address… sad experience has taught me to not to hand it about indiscriminately. That means that someone, without my permission, handed on my private e-mail address. I NEVER do this… your e-mail address is your private property… it’s not mine to abuse by handing it to all and sundry. Ergo, if you send me an unsolicited e-mail… I’m going to trash it. I’ve had too many bad experiences… as a friend of mine said, “It’s amazing what so-called ‘Christians’ say and do”. As another friend of mine wrote:

We get this from American conservative Protestantism. They (rather like Islam, interestingly enough) divide the world into two camps. The “Saved” and the “Damned” (Islam: House of Peace/House of War). The “Saved” can pull no punches in condemning the “Damned”. That’s the “good fight”. So, if the “Damned” sin… Shout about it! Fight it! Fight THEM! After all… they aren’t “Saved”. They aren’t “one of us”. If, however, the “Saved” sin… well… that’s “back-sliding”, but OK. They are, “saved”, after all, and “one of us”. Therefore, because of the culture in which we live, many Orthodox now have subtly accepted the famous Protestant hypocritical double-standard as “Orthodox”. Moreover, it isn’t going to change in the near future.

Let’s show some common decency… that’s what’s Orthodox after all… we’re not a bunch of Radical Proddies with their judgemental and censorious witch hunts, shunning, “the elect”, and “personal saviour”. It’s simple… don’t “google” anyone… respect the privacy of others as you would wish yours to be respected… above all, don’t fall victim to Proddie nostrums… THAT’S not churchly.

Don’t fall into the error of “us vs them”… don’t forget the “Tale of the Onion”… real Russian Orthodox people know what I’m talking about. Heaven is for all us… including our personal enemies… never forget that.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 26 July 2010

Albany NY

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