Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pope Francisco Bluntly Questions Catholic Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 19.09.13


Pope Francisco Bergoglio, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church was “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, and that he chose not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics. In remarkably blunt language, Francisco sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all”, not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy, and a limited agenda of moral teachings. He told Fr Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, an Italian Jesuit journal whose content is usually in line with the Vatican, “It’s not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church aren’t all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry can’t be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance; otherwise, even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel”.

Fr Antonio conducted the interview in Italian during three meetings in August in the pope’s austere quarters in Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse; a team of translators rendered it into English. Francisco chose to live at the Domus Sanctae Marthae rather than in what he said were more-isolated quarters at the Apostolic Palace, home to many of his predecessors. On Thursday morning, 16 Jesuit journals around the world simultaneously released the interview; it included the pope’s lengthy reflections on his identity as a Jesuit. Fr James Martin, an editor-at-large of America, a Jesuit magazine in New York, said that Pope Francisco personally checked the transcript in Italian. America and La Civiltà Cattolica together had asked Francis to grant the interview, which America is publishing in magazine and e-book formats. Fr James said, “Some of the things in it really surprised me. He seems even more of a free-thinker than I thought… creative, experimental, willing to live on the margins, push boundaries back a little bit”.

Most probably, the new pope’s words shall have repercussions in a church whose bishops and priests in many countries, including the USA, often appear to make combating abortion, gay marriage, and contraception their top public policy priorities. He said that these teachings are “clear” to him as “a son of the church”, but one has to teach them in a larger context. “The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives”. Instead of such focus, from the outset of his papacy in March, Francisco chose to use the global spotlight to concentrate on the Church’s mandate to serve the poor and marginalised. He’s washed the feet of juvenile prisoners, visited a centre for refugees, and hugged disabled pilgrims at his audiences. According to recent surveys, his pastoral presence and humble gestures made him wildly popular. However, there’s a low rumble of discontent from some Catholic advocacy groups, and even from some bishops, who’ve taken note of his silence on abortion and gay marriage. Earlier this month, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence RI told his diocesan newspaper that he was “a little bit disappointed in Pope Francisco” because he hadn’t spoken about abortion. The bishop was quoted as saying, “Many people have noticed that”.

The interview is the first time Francisco explained the reasoning behind both his actions and omissions. He also expanded on the comments he made about homosexuality in July, on an airplane returning to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, where he’d celebrated World Youth Day. Then, in a remark then that produced headlines worldwide, the new pope said, “Who am I to judge?” At the time, some questioned whether he was referring only to gays in the priesthood, but in this interview, he made it clear that he’d been speaking of gays and lesbians in general. He told Fr Antonio, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question, ‘Tell me… when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person”.

The interview also served to present the pope as a human being, who loves Mozart, Dostoevsky, and his grandmother, whose favourite film is Fellini’s La Strada. The 12,000-word interview ranged widely, and it might confirm what many Catholics already suspected… that the chameleon-like Francisco bears little likeness to those on the Church’s theological or political right wing. He said that some people assumed that he was an “ultraconservative” because of his reputation when he served as the superior of the Jesuit province in Argentina. He pointed out that he became superior at the “crazy” young age of 36, and that his leadership style was too authoritarian, saying, “However, I’ve never been a right-winger. It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems”. Now, Francisco said, he prefers a more consensual leadership style. He’s appointed an advisory group of eight cardinals, a step that he said the cardinals at the conclave recommended to him. They demanded reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, and Francisco added, “I want to see that this [group] has a real, not a ceremonial, advisory function”.

The pope said that he found it “amazing” to see complaints about “lack of orthodoxy” flowing into the Vatican offices in Rome from conservative Catholics around the world. They ask the Vatican to investigate or discipline their priests, bishops, or nuns. He said that such complaints “are better dealt with locally”, or, else, the Vatican offices risk becoming “institutions of censorship”. Asked what it meant for him to “think with the Church”, a phrase used by St Ignatius de Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, Francisco said that it didn’t mean “thinking with the hierarchy of the Church”. He said that he thinks of the Church “as the people of God, pastors and people together. The church is the totality of God’s people”, he added, a notion popularised after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which Francisco praised for making the Gospel relevant to modern life, an approach he called “absolutely irreversible”.

Whilst he agreed with the decision of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger, to allow the broader use of the traditional Latin-language Tridentine Mass, he said that the more traditional Mass risked becoming an ideology and that he was worried about its “exploitation”. Those who sought a broad revival of the Tridentine Mass are amongst Francisco’s harshest critics, and those remarks aren’t likely to comfort them. In contrast to Benedict, who sometimes envisioned a smaller but purer church… a “faithful fragment”… Francisco envisions the church as a big tent, noting, “This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We mustn’t reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity”.

19 September 2013

Laurie Goodstein

New York Times


Editor’s Note:

Pope Francisco ain’t teaching anything new… it’s the “Same Old Thing”. There’s been a tempest on the right since the 60s… it’s about time that we started to push back. The Church has always been the Big Tent Fulla Sinful Ginfuls… we’re not sectarians, after all, who fancy themselves the Little Flock of the Justified and Saved. Look, everyone knows “who’s who” and “what’s what”… homosexuality was NEVER was one of the hot buttons amongst Orthodox or Catholics. We knew that some people were that way, and if they were cool about it, so were we. Everybody knows who the gay blades are. One of the Cabinet told me how they get irritated every time one of the konvertsy brings up the fact that Mark Stokoe’s gay. Big deal! Everybody knows it; Mark’s made no secret of it. As one of my older informants put it, “It’s why he wasn’t ordained. Mark’s never hid the fact that he’s homosexual”. Bishop Job had no problem with it… Fr Ted Bobosh has no problem with it… his fellow parishioners have no problem with it… give it a rest, willya?

By the way, both HH and Pope Francisco are singing from the same score on this one. As HH said, “We respect all human choices, including those of sexual orientation. We reserve the right to call a sin a sin, though”. Both HH and Pope Francisco are telling the hardheads to go jump in the lake, jump in it now, and don’t shilly-shally about doing it. It looks like sanity reigns at the top, but can we bring it down to the grassroots, too? Maybe, just maybe, if the leadership makes it clear that it won’t tolerate witch hunts, maybe, we can muzzle the Angliochians and those like them. Now, that’s worth lifting a glass to… as a Cabinet member told me about this interview:

Our right-wingers are probably choking.

Yes sir, that’s precisely what we’re hearing… God, that’s music to my ears (and to many others, too)…


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bart to Attend Pope Francisco’s Inauguration


Bart‘s the Vatican‘s lapdog… this image proves it.


Vatican Radio said that the Ecumenical Patriarch would attend a papal inaugural mass for the first time since the Great Schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. The presence of the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis, who claims to be the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, at Pope Francisco’s official Inaugural Mass in St Peter’s Square on 19 March, is widely regarded as a sign of further improvement in relations between the two church bodies.

Earlier, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomed the election of Pope Francisco Bergoglio with a warm message of congratulations, saying, “I want to express the hope and the certainty that the Holy Father will contribute to the peace of an already battered humanity, for the poor and the suffering”. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who shared friendly relationships with John Paul II Wojtyła and Benedict XVI Ratzinger, said that newly-elected Pope Francisco “will give a new impetus to the two churches’ journey towards unity”.

The Great Schism was the medieval separation of Chalcedonian Christianity into Eastern Orthodox (Greek) and Roman Catholic (Latin) churches. Ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes, including the procession of the Holy Spirit (“filioque“), whether one should use leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist, the Pope of Rome’s claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople amongst the Pentarchy long embittered relations between Orthodox and Catholics. The formal start of the schism was in 1054 {there were many long periods of breakage in communion before then… 1054 was an attempt at reconciliation gone wrong: editor}.

Emperors, popes, and patriarchs made efforts in subsequent centuries to heal the rift. However, a number of factors and historical events worked to widen the separation over time. The relations between Orthodox and Catholics eventually showed signs of improvement, especially after the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, when Pope Paul VI Montini and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras Spyrou {a pro-American cleric installed after Langley instigated a coup against socialist-leaning pro-Soviet Patriarch Maximos Vaportzis in 1948: editor} voiced a joint expression of regret for many of the past actions that had led up to the Great Schism in the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965. Patriarch Bartholomew, elected the 273rd Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in October 1991, visited the Vatican for the first time in June 1995. John Paul II was the first pope since the Great Schism to visit an Eastern Orthodox country (Romania) in May 1999.

16 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

Despite all of Bart’s pretentions, the REAL primus inter pares amongst Orthodox is HH… the MP IS the 400-kilo (882 pounds) bear in the room, whilst the EP is an American-paid-and-directed 40-kilo (88 pounds) weakling. Everybody knows this, and it drives Bart batty to no end. Let’s not be coy… the Curia was watching to see who the Centre would send as a delegation… they knew that they had Bart in their pocket; they always have, to speak plainly.

The Russian state sent a low-level group centred on a middling RF Gosduma figure (they didn’t even send Medvedev, who met Benedict previously), whilst the MP only sent the Blunder. He has no oomph… everyone knows that… the Curia knows that (they also know that he’s the most hated bishop in all of Russia… he has no chance at the funny white hat as he comes from a family of Jewish background… that’s the way it is in Russia. The Blunder is as marginal as Men, Chistyakov, and Kochetkov were). If the delegation were to have a legit figure such as Varsonofy Sudakov, Yuvenaly Poyarkov, Mark Golovkov, Filaret Vakhromeyev, or even Kliment Kapalin as the head, then, both the Curia and we would sit up and take notice of it (and have meaty material for speculation). As it is, it’s just the Blunder and his usual set of greasy eunuchs from Bolshaya Ordynka.

As an aside, the OCA kisses up big-time to the papists because they get recognition as a legit Local Church from them (which they don’t get in Real Orthodox circles). The Curia knows this… shall they place Mollard near Bart, just to show the latter who’s the boss and who’s the flunky? It’s a possibility…


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bart Sez 50 Years of “Love” and “Harmony” Between Catholics and Orthodox… He was the ONLY Orthodox Leader to Show Up for Vatican Dixie Fry


Editor’s Foreword:

This screed below is from Asia News, so, caveat lector. It’s a field full of fresh cow pats just waiting for the unwary… as though Orthodox give a rat’s ass about Vatican II… we don’t, it’s an internal papist council, that’s all that it is, it’s of no interest or applicability to us… HO HUM. Papal encyclicals are equally groaners and sleep-inducers. This is crapola from stem to stern… but read it… do read it, please. You must be informed on what’s out there.



The sole representative of Orthodoxy at the ceremony for the start of the Year of Faith, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople retraced the stages of the search for unity between Catholics and Orthodox, and between the Orthodox themselves, favoured by the Second Vatican Council.

“Love”, “desire for harmony”, “dialogue,” and “mutual respect”, were values ​​witnessed by the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis at the ceremony that began the Year of the Faith, which marked 50 years since the Opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was the sole representative of Orthodoxy invited to the ceremony. Moreover, as he himself recalled at the end of the Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI Ratzinger, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has always been committed to ecumenism, which was the mainspring of the Second Vatican Council.

In his speech, which we publish below in full, Bartholomew retraced the steps that led up to the opening of the theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. At the same time, he pointed up that the Vatican Council also catalysed tensions in the search for unity even among the Orthodox Churches. Unity among Christians, that for which Christ prayed before the “Gethsemane experience”, is a function of the common witness of the “message of salvation and healing for our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the marginalised in world created by God”. “In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world”. The full address by the Ecumenical Patriarch follows below.


Beloved brother in the Lord, Your Holiness Pope Benedict;

Brothers and Sisters;

As Christ prepared for His Gethsemane experience, He prayed a prayer for unity, which is recorded in the Gospel according to St John Chapter 17 verse 11:

“Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”.

Through the centuries we have, indeed, been kept in the power and love of Christ, and in the proper moment in history the Holy Spirit moved upon us and we began the long journey towards the visible unity that Christ desires. This was confirmed in Unitatis Redintegratio §1:

Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians.

Fifty years ago in this very square, a powerful and pivotal celebration captured the heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church, transporting it across the centuries into the contemporary world. This transforming milestone, the opening of the Second Vatican Council, was inspired by the fundamental reality that the Son and incarnate Logos of God is “…where two or three are gathered in his name” (Gospel according to St Matthew 18.20) and that the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, “…will guide us into the whole truth.” (Gospel according to St John 16.13).

In the 50 years that intervened, we recall with vividness and tenderness, but also with elation and enthusiasm, our personal discussions with episcopal members and theological periti during our formative time… then, as a young student… at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as well as our personal attendance at some special sessions of the Council. We witnessed firsthand how the bishops experienced a renewed awareness of the validity… and a reinforced sense of the continuity… of the tradition and faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Epistle of St Jude 1.3). It was a period of promise and hope for your Church both internally and externally.

For the Orthodox Church, we’ve observed a time of exchange and expectation. For example, the convocation of the first Pan-Orthodox Conferences in Rhodes led to the Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences in preparation for the Great Council of the Orthodox Churches. These exchanges will demonstrate the unified witness of the Orthodox Church in the modern world. Moreover, it coincided with the “dialogue of love” and heralded the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, which was established by our venerable predecessors Pope John Paul II Wojtyła and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios Papadopoulos.

Over the last five decades, the achievements of this assembly have been diverse as evidenced through the series of important and influential constitutions, declarations, and decrees. We’ve contemplated the renewal of the spirit and “return to the sources” through liturgical study, biblical research, and patristic scholarship. We’ve appreciated the struggle toward gradual liberation from the limitation of rigid scholasticism to the openness of ecumenical encounter, which has led to the mutual rescinding of the excommunications of the year 1054, the exchange of greetings, returning of relics, entering into important dialogues, and visiting each other in our respective Sees.

Our journey has not always been easy or without pain and challenge, for as we know “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way” (Gospel according to St Matthew 7.14). The essential theology and principal themes of the Second Vatican Council… the mystery of the Church, the sacredness of the liturgy, and the authority of the bishop… are difficult to apply in earnest practice, and constitute a life-long and church-wide labour to assimilate. The door, then, must remain open for deeper reception, pastoral engagement, and ecclesial interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

As we move forward together, we offer thanks and glory to the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the same assembly of bishops recognised the importance of reflection and sincere dialogue between our “sister churches”. We join in the “. . . hope that the barrier dividing the Eastern Church and the Western Church will be removed, and that, at last, there may be but the one dwelling, firmly established on Christ Jesus, the cornerstone, who will make both one” (Unitatis Redintegratio §18).

With Christ as our cornerstone and the tradition we share, we’ll be able, or, rather, we’ll be enabled by the gift and grace of God, to reach a better appreciation and fuller expression of the Body of Christ. With our continued efforts in accordance with the spirit of the tradition of the early Church, and in the light of the Church of the Councils of the first millennium, we’ll experience the visible unity that lies just beyond us today. The Church always excels in its uniquely prophetic and pastoral dimension, embraces its characteristic meekness and spirituality, and serves with humble sensitivity the “least of these My brethren” (Gospel according to St Matthew 25.40).

Beloved brother, our presence here signifies and seals our commitment to witness together to the Gospel message of salvation and healing for the least of our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten in God’s world. Let’s begin with prayers for peace and healing for our Christian brothers and sisters living in the Middle East. In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world. Indeed, may all humanity reach out to “the other”, to work together to overcome the suffering of people everywhere, particularly in the face of famine, natural disasters, disease, and war that ultimately touches all of our lives.

In light of all that has yet to be accomplished by the Church on earth, and with great appreciation for all the progress we have shared, we’re, therefore, honoured to be invited to attend, and humbled to be called to address, this solemn and festive commemoration of the Second Vatican Council. It’s fitting that this occasion also marks for your Church the formal inauguration of the “Year of Faith”, as it’s faith that provides a visible sign of the journey we have travelled together along the path of reconciliation and visible unity.

In closing, Your Holiness, Beloved Brother, we wholeheartedly congratulate you, together with the blessed multitude assembled here today, and we fraternally embrace you on the joyous occasion of this anniversary celebration. May God bless you all.

11 October 2012

Asia News


Editor’s Afterwod:

Look at the GOOD NEWS in this, kids. They only invited Bart… that means that he’s the only bum kisser amongst our First Hierarchs. Y’know, it gives one hope for the future of Christ’s Church. It means that the papists didn’t trust the rest of our First Hierarchs. Raise a glass and cheer… the good guys won again!


Monday, 19 December 2011

Major Jesuit Scholar Harshly Criticised the Liturgical Tradition of Catholicism in the Period between the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council

THIS is what Taft’s criticising and calling “frozen”… he doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground. As for me, give me this humble Québécois Catholic believer at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré over that bloviating and windy Jebbie…


Editor’s Foreword:

This Russian post illustrates how unrepentant the ‘60s generation is towards Tradition. It’s sad to relate, but the unhinged ivory tower types at SVS and Jordanville (through Vassa Larina and Andrei Psyarov) go ape-shit over this idiot. Caveat lector! More-traditional RC types will enjoy the little zingers about this turkey inserted by the anonymous author at Sedmitza.



In an interview with CNS, which CWN also quoted, Robert Taft SJ, a world-famous scholar of the Byzantine (sic) liturgical tradition and former professor (1970-2002) and vice-rector (1995-2001) of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, said that religious leaders “froze the liturgy after the Council of Trent, so, when the Second Vatican Council opened the freezer door, it just crumbled. However, the Second Vatican Council didn’t make any abuses; they were a reaction to centuries of rigidity in the liturgy. The liturgy became a play without an audience. We were all actors. The prayer wasn’t for God. Of course, God already knew it was all playacting”. Taft continued his bizarre reasoning by speaking of Latin in the liturgy, adding, “Language is meant for us [to understand], and if you don’t understand the language, then, you have a problem”. About the documents of the Catholic Church on Catholicism of the Eastern Rite, he said, “It’s better to be a part of the process than to stand on the sidelines and criticise, but I’m critical, as well. My attitude has always been that I prefer to make these decisions myself than to let others of lesser intelligence make them for me”. Taft, in all modesty, described himself as a man who “reached the summits” in the study of the Byzantine (sic) liturgy. “One of the advantages of old age, what the Byzantine (sic) liturgy calls ‘the terrible tribunal tribunal of Christ’, is that you’ll feel a fear of God more keenly, you’ll pray more often. It’s already had an impact on my spiritual life”, the 79-year-old Jesuit {a waggish RC priest-friend of mine calls them “the Society of Jerks…. if there’s something fishy, there’s a Jesuit behind it”: editor} reflected in conclusion.

19 December 2011



Editor’s Note:

He’s an arrogant SOB, isn’t he? He hates the Tridentine Liturgy, and he hates Mount Athos… he pisses on both RCs and Orthodox equally… he’s an “equal opportunity mudslinger”. Vassa Larina goes ga-ga over this schmidiot… SVS adores him… and Andrei Psyarov holds him up as an exemplar to seminarists at Jordanville. Birds of a feather DO flock together. If Taft’s a fatuous airhead (full of windy scholarly verbiage, to be sure), what does that tell you about Vassa Larina, Andrei Psyarov, and SVS? Taft’s an impenitent and shameless “angry young man” who’s become an unseemly and slobbering “angry old man”… and out of step with the Pope of Rome. People are never boring are they? This is the latest proof that logic and consistency aren’t necessary attributes for advancement… just have the right kind and the right quantity of bullshit, and you’ll go far. My condolences to my RC friends… you’re as infested with pseudo-academic crazies and crackpots as we are. What’s my solution to the problem? I’d put ‘em all on a remote island (Tristan da Cunha or Bouvet Island would fill the bill, I’m sure)… they could argue to their heart’s content without bothering normal people. Now, just if Kirill and Benedict would do such (wouldn’t Kochetkov and Taft make perfect housemates?)…

Oh… don’t forget… Thomas Hopko was formed by Jesuit jerks at Fordham… and it shows! Pity the poor students at SVS who picked up his risorgimento BS.


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