Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 May 2013

“The Sentiments Expressed by the Bolotnaya Square Protesters are Different from those Expressed by Other Protesters in Russia”: Natalia Narochnitskaya

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Portrait of a Protestor. 2012


Valdaiclub.com interview with Natalia Narochnitskaya, Director of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris and president of the Historical Perspective Foundation in Moscow


Do you think the inspections of NGOs by the Prokuratura discredit these groups in the eyes of society, which is the goal, or do they discredit the government?


It depends. The Western media are sure that these inspections discredit the authorities… that’s how they portray these audits. These NGOs, especially the most-high-profile ones, are their icons and they’ll portray them as heroes. As for Russian society, certain people, mainly in Moscow, share this view, but people in the rest of Russia don’t see these inspections as discrediting the authorities in any way. It’s important to understand that our society doesn’t have a united stand on this issue. The sentiments expressed by the Bolotnaya Square protesters are different from those expressed by other protesters in Russia. That’s my answer.


Will these inspections further strain relations between activists and the authorities?


Again, it depends. I think there are two unequal camps in the activist community. The *liberal Western-oriented camp that calls itself the “non-systemic” opposition is concentrated in Moscow and it’s very small on a national scale. However, this is the only opposition that the West notices, and, as a result, they’ll probably grow even more hysterical in their hatred of the Russian government.

*”liberal” in Russian terms is the same as the Anglospherelibertarian”. The latter term isn’t part of Russian intellectual/political discourse. That is, when a Russian attacks “liberalism”, they attack the non-regulatory Hobbesian anarchism of the Anglosphere Right. That is, Russians uncontaminated by Western constructs oppose and anathematise anarchy of any sort; it doesn’t matter if it’s religious anarchy (“evangelicalsectarianism… an Orthodox bishop called it “Christian atheism”… how true!), societal anarchy (libertarianism), intellectual anarchy (“anarchy” per se), or moral anarchy (immorality)… in Russian terms, all four have an intimate and indissoluble correlation.

As for the majority of activists in the rest of Russia, they lean more towards left-wing views. They aren’t sad that the 1990s are over, but they feel like the car broke down on the road leading away from the ‘90s. These people are more worried about pensions, re-industrialisation, jobs, fighting corruption, and the decline of Russians as the dominant ethnic group in the country. However, they like Russia’s strong foreign policy and tough response to Western pressure. I don’t think these audits had any effect on their attitudes. They might even welcome them.


Do you think there’s a connection between the audits of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), during which the auditors removed their computers and papers with Angela Merkel’s position on Cyprus?


Maybe, but I don’t think so. By the way, in the West, many experts believe this, and in private conversation they’ll say that EU leaders probably gave Cyprus an ultimatum… make no agreements with Russia, or you won’t receive any cash and the EU will simply engineer its collapse in one week. I’ve heard this from British and French experts. In a brief statement on Cyprus’s collapse, Viktor Gerashchenko said off-the-cuff that probably this decision was directed against Russia and that Cyprus was being punished for its pro-Russian position and refusal to let the West anywhere near the deposits discovered on the country’s continental shelf. There was a risk that Russia might get a hold in this key strategic area in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, I still believe that the EU had bigger motives in Cyprus. We can hardly consider the removal of computers as a “retaliatory measure”. They simply caught these NGOs in the same net as all the others.


Do you think that these inspections are a pretext to put off the issue of establishing visa-free travel between Russia and Europe?


For Europe and the EU, this is the pretext they’ve been looking for in order to hold up a process that they’re simply not ready for. No doubt, they’ll use it and cling to it. However, in reality… and experts have long known this… they aren’t ready for visa-free travel with Russia. They’re doing everything to impede the process, saying that they’ll have to deal with a wave of illegal workers from Asia and the Caucasus.


What problems are Russian NGOs facing abroad?


The media speaks ill of Russia or not at all. The French press is in the lead and the European media in general is acting in much the same manner. They welcome only those Russian NGOs that rabidly insist that no country in the world is worse and has fewer rights than post-Yeltsin Russia. They invite such people to speak on television very often. By the way, they’re from NGOs that receive official funds from the US budget. The US Congress is partially-financing institutions of the Republican and Democratic parties, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, and many Russian NGOs. I shudder to think what they would’ve written about my Institute of Democracy and Cooperation if we’d received a penny from the Russian budget.

By the way, I’ve just come back from America where I had a conversation with a prominent banking analyst. I asked him directly what he thinks about the campaign in the press against the new law requiring that NGOs funded from abroad must declare this if they conduct political activities in Russia. He laughed and said that in the USA foreign funding of political activities carries criminal penalties. He said a man from China contributed to a local election campaign in one city and received a 10-year prison term.

No matter what we do and what important events with distinguished people we hold, there’ll be little or no coverage. Sometimes, they invite us to be on television. If a Russian NGO in a foreign country doesn’t spew hatred for the government, even if it readily discusses our sins, they’ll always describe it as a Kremlin agency funded by the budget, even though this is a total lie. This is the constant insinuation you hear, based on some blogs. The academic community in Europe is much fairer and more objective, and it’s easier to work with them. We’re trying to involve them in serious roundtables where we always criticise corruption and other vices in Russian politics or the economy. Three years ago, our office in Paris opened with a seminar offering a comparative analysis of anti-corruption laws in France and Russia, which put Russia in an unfavourable light. We had interesting speakers on our side, and we acknowledged that corruption is a systemic problem that can’t be resolved quickly. However, nobody cares about this.

Here’s another example of what often happens. When my name came up in connection with the establishment of my institute’s office in Paris, many newspapers asked me for an interview… l’Express, Le Figaro, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and The Chicago Tribune {did Sophia Kishkovsky or Serge Schmemann interview Professor Narochnitskaya? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…: editor}. I talked with all of them at least for an hour about everything, including culture, insight into life in each other’s countries, and the desire to break the glass wall of misunderstanding that separates us. A French woman from l’Express and I even got to talking about Baudelaire’s poetry and hugged each other goodbye. You should’ve seen what her newspaper wrote! I regretted that I was so naïve and didn’t switch on the recorder. I could’ve published it online so that everyone could see that they clearly instructed her to write a negative story. Nevertheless, I didn’t say anything negative and she published in her newspaper three routine anti-Putin paragraphs that had nothing to do with our conversation and one sentence about our meeting… “This is the aim of the agency that will be headed by Natalia Narochnitskaya, whom I had a chance to meet”.

I can concur on Professor Narochnitskaya’s observation. Western media sorts NEVER tell it as you tell it and you must use the utmost caution in talking to them. Never be verbose… be concise, for they can edit your words in such a way that it’ll seem that you either support their position or that you’re a marginal nutter (this is particularly true of TV presenters). In fact, very few Western “authority figures” tell the truth (“winning by any means, fair or foul” is the most important component of the Western Corporate Weltanschauung)… be very, very careful in your dealings with them, especially, with clergy… never talk to a clergyman on substantive matters without a witness or two (doubly so, if he’s a convert or an SVS grad). As Paffhausen illustrated, all too often, they do lie whenever it’s convenient for them, and they’re bloody sincere and unctuous about it, too…

Frankfurter Allgemeine was the only newspaper to report what I said without sneering and in good faith. Its coverage reflected their understanding of what I said. An article in Le Figaro read, “Oh what a fierce debater they’ve sent from Russia!” I take pride in this! Speaking about freedom of the press in the West, the press is so subordinated to editorial policy that it’s long ceased to reflect the diversity of public thinking and public opinion in its own countries. Public opinion in these countries is much more complex, and many more people are quite fair in their views of Russia. I won’t say they’re fond of Russia, but they’re willing to listen calmly to positive information about the country. My European friends and partners tell me they’re sick and tired of hysterical Russophobia in the press. Incidentally, already, Russophobia has become marginal. The articles by André Glucksman have become so grotesque that they remind me of our incomparable Valeria Novodvorskaya {a pro-Western Quisling… she writes for the New York Times… did this traitor mentor Sophia Kishkovsky? Interesting angle, no?: editor}. The press has taken it so far that soon its coverage will have the opposite effect. This is what happened with anti-capitalist propaganda in the Khrushchyov era. We’ll discuss this problem… the origins of Russophobia… at a conference at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy in May, which I’m attending. The Italian side, not us, suggested the idea. This is already a good sign.

8 May 2013

Valdai Discussion Club



Saturday, 3 March 2012

3 March 2012. Reflections on the Upcoming Election: Putin Goes “All-Out”… Zyuganov “Turns Pink”


“Power and Property to the People! On 4 March, vote for Zyuganov!”


Experts said that the presidential election campaign due to finish on 2 March has become one of the most vigorous and interesting of the last decade. In their opinion, Putin made an all-out effort, whilst his opponents put up a real fight, supplementing their usual arsenals with tougher rhetoric and high quality video commercials. They utilised not only PR experts but also psychologists in their campaigns. The Russian presidential election will take place on 4 March. The following candidates are vying for the presidential chair, for a six-year term:

Political scientist Vladimir Slatinov said, “This campaign has obviously been much more interesting than previous ones. In 2004, nobody opposed Putin. Let’s be honest about it… he didn’t have a serious contender. Unlike previous years, this time, we’ve actually seen a real campaign”. He emphasised that, this time around, Putin’s opponents really fought a hard campaign.

Putin’s Three Pillars

Political analysts praised Putin’s election campaign, noting a substantial change in his style of conduct compared to 2004. Political scientist Nikolai Zlobin said, “[Putin’s] making an all-out effort in the election campaign for the first time, working in a Western style, working really hard. He’s developed a certain Western style, and we should give him credit for this. I didn’t expect him to work so flat-out. [Putin] changed the style of his election campaign and started conducting it personally, not delegating to anyone”. Western experts agree that, during this campaign, Putin’s come across as quite a different leader than he usually does in his meetings with officials and opted for an informal style of communicating with his audience, as they do in Europe and the United States. They noted that the days of sullen Russians monotonously reading out texts written in advance are long gone.

Yevgeni Minchenko, Director of the International Institute for Political Analysis, said that Putin’s weekly articles on his programme helped him stay in the public spotlight, saying, “Putin’s articles came out at the beginning of every week, helping him command the agenda”. Slatinov noted that the prime minister’s campaign relied on three pillars, noting, “The first pillar is spoon-feeding the paternalistic strata and making them ever more lavish promises. The second is the rhetoric of intimidating people with the chaos and instability of the 1990s, and the third is his, I believe, quite skilful use of a lack of a viable alternative. There’s no doubt, this campaign was a success… he’s pulled off playing the role of the father of the nation who listens to everyone and makes promises to one and all”. He emphasised that the campaign was “designed to show that there are sparring partners engaged in noisy debates and, then, there’s the father of the nation who cares about everyone, hears everyone, and is ready to do even more”.

Political commentators believe Putin made a good choice in his election agents, many of whom are authorities in their fields. Although this provoked extensive negative coverage in social networks and blogs, Putin managed to score points with it, thereby resolving one of the main problems that emerged during the protests in the wake of the December elections. Minchenko commented, “There’s a stereotype that all celebrities are opposed to the government. When the public saw Putin’s election agents and videos coming out in support of him, it turned out many people working in culture and the arts were actually on his side”.

Experts believed that the debates were the weak point of his campaign. They noted that the election agents who acted on Putin’s behalf during verbal duels couldn’t compare with the “usual crowd” and looked quite unconvincing. At the same time, they thought that Putin never intended the debates to play a serious role in his campaign. Slatinov noted that people who represented Putin at the debates found it hard to compete with seasoned politicians. He observed, “Take Narochnitskaya [political scientist Natalia Narochnitskaya], she’s a smart person, but it was obviously a mistake on her part to oppose Zhirinovsky because politically they’re light years apart”. Zlobin believed that Putin needed a “strong intellectual sparring partner” to point out the most acute and pressing issues for him.

The Outrageous Zhirinovsky

Expert opinions on Zhirinovsky’s campaign varied. Slatinov called it one of the most boisterous. He noted that Zhirinovsky acted in his usual scandalous manner and stuck to his tough rhetoric in criticising the current government. However, Minchenko didn’t see anything new in this. He said, “There’s no point in performing the same trick twice. Zhirinovsky was his usual self… aggressive and, at times, downright rude. I think he turned out to be Putin’s main opponent in this campaign. At least, he lashed out at the current government as nobody else did. He made the most accusations, and these accusations were the most harsh and biting”. He noted that Zhirinovsky “described the mechanism of fraud in minute detail and raised the issue of the role of administrating the elections”. His campaign videos, including the one with the donkey, which provoked widespread discussion, “were in the same scandalous vein. Although his age is showing, his campaign was very bright. Of course, he made the most of his talents as a speaker and his customary image”. He suggested that this might be Zhirinovsky’s last presidential campaign and that his main purpose was to show that “over the next five years his party will be a serious political force to be reckoned with”.

According to Minchenko, Zhirinovsky conducted the campaign in his traditional style and didn’t make any new moves, saying, “Zhirinovsky reminds me of old Russian movies like The Straw Hat, The Carnival Night, or The Irony of Fate… it seems we know everything by heart and won’t see anything new, but we’ve gotten used to watching them… just like we feel we have to watch The Irony of Fate again every New Year’s Eve, we think that we have to take another look at Zhirinovsky during the election campaign”. Minchenko said that his slogans, “Vote for Zhirinovsky, and life will be better”, or, “Vote for Zhirinovsky, or life will be worse”, are similar to those that accompanied Boris Yeltsin’s campaign in 1996… “Vote or lose” and “Vote and win”.

Zyuganov Turns Pink… Mironov Shows Restraint

Slatinov said, “Zyuganov conducted an impressive campaign. I liked his promotional videos… they were excellent and convincing. They showed Zyuganov as a respectable statesman”. He observed that the Communist leader changed his rhetoric during this election campaign, “It was more moderate, not so hard-line left-wing. Zyuganov turned ‘pink’. After all, the KPRF’s increasingly moving toward the centre. Zyuganov understands that the only way that he can get additional votes isn’t from his core constituency, but from other sections of society that are dissatisfied with the government. These are people who are less communist in their views and more middle-of-the-road”. At the same time, there was some inertia in Zyuganov’s campaign because he’s been in politics for too long and “couldn’t avoid making some repetitions”. Minchenko thought that Zyuganov was very traditional during the debates and that his duels with opponents were some of the dullest.

Experts called Mironov’s campaign weak. They said it was even less convincing than his party’s campaign during the elections for the Gosduma. They believed that Mironov failed in his bid to become a serious centre-left opponent to the current government. Slatinov noted, “It’s clear that something was holding Mironov back. Although he seemed to criticise the government, there was something that prevented him from going all-out”. Minchenko believed that Mironov was relying primarily on his low disapproval ratings and the hope that undecided voters would support the least-repulsive candidate. He summed it up by saying, “Mironov’s campaign was very conservative”.

Prokhorov… A Fresh Face

Experts were generally positive about Prokhorov’s campaign although they had earlier criticised it for its weak start… he didn’t have a meaningful agenda and was not open enough with his potential constituents. Experts said that Prokhorov, who came to politics less than a year ago and had some negative experience in party-building with the Right Cause Party (PD), still had one indisputable advantage… he presented a fresh face. Slatinov said, “He’s the only new man out of the five, and this gives him an advantage… not just among the middle-class, but amongst all those who’re tired of the same old players”. He suggested that the primary aim of Prokhorov’s sharp criticism of opposition leaders in the Gosduma, whom Prokhorov repeatedly called “Duma seniors” and accused of having ties with the Kremlin, was to emphasise that he’s a new man, and to win the votes of a tired electorate.

Minchenko agreed with assessment, saying, “Debates with Prokhorov had the highest ratings because all the others are so familiar. He’s a new man and people watched him with interest”. Slatinov pointed up that the billionaire proclaimed himself as “the chief anti-Putin” opponent, but “didn’t dare criticise the current government too much. Prokhorov was obviously trying to curry favour with voters from the angry middle-class. I think he looked quite convincing to the middle-class. However, he was more eager to present himself and his programme than to oppose the government”. In Minchenko’s opinion, Prokhorov’s campaign commercials were weak and his campaign lacked a creative approach. At the same time, he noted Prokhorov’s progress since the start of his political activities, noting, “Prokhorov made progress. It’s obvious that his psychologists and specialists have done a good job”.

2 March 2012



Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Church won’t Take the Side of any One Political Party in Electoral Campaigns


Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Department of Church and Society, during one of the sessions of the 20th Christmas Readings in Moscow, stated that the efforts of those who want the Church to take the side of this-or-that political faction would be in vain. He said, “We need to think it over carefully before we answer any appeal of this sort, no matter how spontaneous, emotional, or passionate… they seem to say, ‘Be with us, not with them; be with us against them, don’t meet with Churov, don’t meet with Navalny, only meet with those whom we recommend’”. In his view, “In future, such pressure will never be effective, and we must confront it; we must say that the Church is open to all, it won’t side with one against another in civil disputes. It’s a fact that people can express their views; they can participate in the political process, to try to influence government decisions. However, at the same time, the Church will never side with those who are trying to sow civil disorder and attack our statehood, as such”.

24 January 2012



Editor’s Note:

Fr Vsevolod makes it clear. Although the Church has a discrete and unambiguous social teaching, it doesn’t discriminate against people based on their political opinions. It isn’t like Jonas Paffhausen or Patrick Henry Reardon, who vent their ire on those who won’t follow the extremist wing of the Republican Party. I’d advise all comers not to listen to any of the American lightweights in Orthodoxy… none of them has a higher Orthodox education equivalent to a MDA kandidatura, the highest most of them have is an MDiv… we don’t have Orthodox graduate faculties; we don’t have the human or financial resources. Seminaries are trade schools for priests, they don’t count… and notional “institutes” like the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute and the Saints Cyril and Athanasius Institute are jokes, headed by people without Orthodox terminal degrees (a not-unimportant qualification). You also shouldn’t listen to jumped-up phonies like the Blunder (he has a defective Western education) or Georgi Kochetkov, either.

Instead, I’d advise everyone to listen to proven heavy hitters like Fr Vsevolod, Archbishop Mark Golovkov, Professor Aleksei Osipov, and Professor Natalia Narochnitskaya. That’s not to mention His Holiness, who’s in a class all by himself. As my Nicky says, “He’s a living saint”… and if you see him with kids or the down n’ out, you can see that, in spades. They all say that there’s no political “test” to be in the Church… I agree.

That’s why you can’t have concord with Fathausen (and his Éminence Grise Potapov), Reardon, Dreher, Mattingly, or any of the konvertsy (especially the HOOMies, who are nothing but formally-converted cultists). They want to unite the Church with the worst and most demonic faction of the Republican Party… a faction that believes in perpetual warfare, corporate dictatorship, and the rule of “might makes right”… but they’re for the criminalisation of abortion, dontcha know! They want to link the Church with Moonies, Mormons, and the sillier form of High Church Anglicans… rather interesting, no? Listen to the REAL Church… and you won’t go wrong.

By the way, one last thing… whispers from several sources tell me that Vlasovtsy fanatics in the ROCOR are claiming that Carpatho-Russian people were collaborators and anti-Semites… that’s really another post, but that’s ridiculous and arrant nonsense. The Vlasovtsy were the collaborators… they came to America on the rat-line run by Langley, they ended as fellow-travellers and willing dupes of the nutter fringe of the American rightwing… to tar others, especially innocents, is beyond the pale. Then, again, these jabronies claim that “everyone” in the ROCOR is “wise to Jews, Niggers, Obama, et al”… rather sad, no? That’s why I oppose such filthiness… and I don’t think that I’m alone…


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Who’s NOT There is as Important as Who IS There

Here’s a member of the “Orthodox” delegation to the Orientale Lumen conference… there’s no one from the grounded Church who is going, save for a fairly-low-level Moscow archimandrite, who, no doubt, is KMG’s spy. We shouldn’t be going to such trumpery…


Before we deal with the question posed by the title, one of the things that I’ve dealt with, not only in the last few days, but over the long haul as well, is the accusation that I’m being unfair to the person and ideas of Jonas Paffhausen. Am I being such? Firstly, didn’t Mr Paffhausen say at his election, “It’s all over?” Apparently, he meant that the secrecy and high-handedness of the Swaiko administration were over. Were they? Certainly, there was a change in the attitude towards the faithful… the administration became twice as secretive and twice as evasive. For instance, no information was released on the recent Holy Synod meeting in Colorado on oca.org (beyond a bare mention of its meeting); there wasn’t even a mention of the topics under discussion. In short, nothing was told to the faithful and Mark Stokoe just smiled an idiot’s smile. Would he have done so if Herman had been half as secretive? Recently, Terrence Mattingly (another self-appointed konvertsy “expert”) gushed all over Stokoe, and attacked all the rest of us, saying that we did no original work. Mr Mattingly… I challenge you. I translate from the Russian press weekly, therefore, are you saying that I am an “uninformed commentator?” I’d argue that I’ve access to Orthodox material that you don’t even know about because of your lack of facility in Russian. Interesting, no? Well… let’s move on to the nub of the submission…

However, I was looking at the items on oca.org, and one did catch my eye. This is disturbing in the extreme. Indeed, when one combines this with Paffhausen’s syncretistic pact with the TEC via Nashotah House and Behr’s embrace of the heretical “hierarch” Rowan Williams, it can mean only one thing. The OCA‘s signalling to the entire world that the boundaries of the Church mean nothing to it. We’ll return to this, but first, let’s look at an error in fact in the above post. One of the speakers, according to the OCA handout, is “Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, Director of Religious Education, Moscow”. Does it surprise you that they didn’t get it right? Kirill Nikolaevich Govorun (no Russian source uses the incorrect dialectical “Hovorun”) holds a rather more modest office in Moscow… he’s First Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee of the MP. MUCH less than what the OCA handout implies… let’s not be too harsh, of course, it’s probably just a consequence of the utter incompetence of Belonick and Matusiak. Oh, another little wrinkle that’s not in the article due to the boobishness of Matusiak and Belonick… Kirill Nikolaevich IS the head of the DECR for the UOC/MP… I believe that he’s a lower-horsepower stand-in for the Boy Wonder, who’s sitting this one out (after the der Spiegel débâcle, he’s laying low, no doubt). Indeed, no MP bishop is on the agenda. THAT is interesting in the extreme. Bart is strutting his stuff and NO MP bishop is involved. Note well that Fr Kirill’s the highest-ranking MP figure in this ecumaniac love feast. In fact, he’s the ONLY MP figure named, save for Vassa Larina, who is from the ROCOR, which is a constituent part of the MP.

Also, note that the only ROCOR personality involved is Vassa Larin. Her academic and personal ties to Bob Taft are well known, and I don’t need to attack them… all of the Church knows of them, and very few (save for a few pseudo-academic poseurs) support her dalliance with this Uniate Jesuit charlatan (I believe that she’s doing so to “further her academic career”). So, look at who’s there, and who isn’t there. The Boy Wonder isn’t there. He’s not moving from Moscow, thank you very much (or he’s sticking close to KMG). That means that his errors over the past year have caught up with him, and he’s repairing his fences. No major figure from the MDA or SPDA or PSTGU is there. There’s no one from Jordanville, either from the monastery or the seminary. None of the major MP department heads is there, not even the layman Vladimir Legoida. NO MP bishop is there. Now, if Fr Vsevolod Chaplin or Prof Natalia Narochnitskaya were there, I’d sit up and take NOTICE. I’d truly take a second (and long) look if the name of Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov cropped up. Truly, none of the real big-name players in the MP is involved in this EP/papal farce.

All too many newcomers in the Church are unaware of the factional fight that is going on right now for the soul of the Russian Orthodox Church. It’s why the decent people in the MP wanted the ROCOR back into the fold so badly… they’d be valuable allies against such dangerous and mendacious poseurs as SVS, New Skete, and St Sergius (Paris). As I said, note who isn’t there… Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev isn’t there… Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral isn’t there… no MP or ROCOR bishop is there… no one from any major MP or ROCOR seminary or higher institution is there. The only MP figure named is a low-octane substitute for the Boy Wonder… who’s not going to be there either! The only ROCOR figure named has unwisely (and publicly) kissed the bum of a Jesuit Uniate phony (I hasten to add that every ROCOR voice I’ve heard on this (save for the pseudo-academic poseur Psaryov) condemns her actions in re Taft unreservedly). It’s not wise for ANY OCA figure to be there, under such circumstances, as Moscow is their sole canonical lifeline.

What is this, after all? It’s a papist meeting called to further a papist agenda in a papist venue. Excuse me whilst I hurl. To my Catholic friends I’d say, “It’s one thing to be polite to one’s neighbour and to show kindness to the people about one. That’s only right and proper. However, I draw the line at actions that transgress the boundaries of the Church… for that’s spitting on Our Lord Christ Himself”. Somehow, I don’t think that I’d get an argument from the Mark Sheas of this world… we’d agree to disagree, and we’d move on to things that we could share. We wouldn’t hold such a conference, though… it’s demeaning to both parties. Jonas Paffhausen and SVS have told all of us what they think of Christ by this action. If the Church is Christ’s Body, then, anything that we do concerning the Church concerns Christ. If one follows my chain of logic by starting with the stipulation, “JP and SVS are disregarding the boundaries of the Church”, I think that it’s obvious where that syllogism leads. Yes… JP, you were right. “Everything has changed”… yes, it most certainly has… not for the better.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 8 May 2010

Albany NY

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