Russian Metropolitan Hilarion to Synod: Don’t be Protestants

… or like Pres. Obama.


Your Holiness!
Your Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies!

On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus I extend fraternal greetings to you on the occasion of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church on the theme of the family.

In our restless and disturbing world the human person needs a firm and unshakeable foundation upon which he can rest and upon which he can build his life with confidence. At the same time, secular society, aimed primarily at the gratification of individual needs, is incapable of giving the human person clear moral direction. The crisis of traditional values which we see in the consumer society leads to a contradiction between various preferences, including those in the realm of family relationships. Thus, feminism views motherhood as an obstacle to a woman’s self-realization, while by contrast having a baby is more often proclaimed as a right to be attained by all means possible. More often the family is viewed as a union of persons irrespective of their gender, and the human person can ‘choose’ his or her gender according to personal taste.

On the other hand, new problems are arising which have a direct impact on traditional family foundations. Armed conflicts in the contemporary world have brought about a mass exodus from areas gripped by war to more prosperous countries. Emigration often leads to a disruption of family ties, creating at the same time a new social environment in which unions of an inter-ethnic and inter-religious nature arise.

These challenges and threats are common to all the Christian Churches which seek out answers to them, proceeding from the mission that Christ has placed upon them – to bring humanity to salvation. Unfortunately, in the Christian milieu too we often hear voices calling for the ‘modernization’ of our ecclesial consciousness, for the rejection of the supposedly obsolete doctrine of the family. However, we ought never to forget the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christians of Rome: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ (Rom. 12: 2).

The Church is called to be a luminary and beacon in the darkness of this age, and Christians to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light to the world’. We all ought to recall the Saviour’s warning: ‘If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’ (Matt. 5: 13-14). The salt which has lost its savour are those Protestant communities which call themselves Christian, but which preach moral ideals incompatible with Christianity. If in this type of community a rite of blessing of same-sex unions is introduced, or a lesbian so called ‘bishop’ calls for the replacement of crosses from the churches with the Muslim crescent, can we speak of this community as a ‘church’? We are witnessing the betrayal of Christianity by those who are prepared to accommodate themselves to a secular, godless and churchless world.

The authorities of some European countries and America, in spite of numerous protests, including those by Catholics, continue to advocate policies aimed at the destruction of the very concept of the family. They not only on the legislative level equate of the status of the same-sex unions to that of marriage but also criminally persecute those who out of their Christian convictions refuse to register such unions. Immediately after the departure of Pope Francis from the USA, President Barack Obama openly declared that gay rights are more important than religious freedom. This clearly testifies to the intention of the secular authorities to continue their assault on those healthy forces in society which defend traditional family values. Catholics here are found at the forefront of the struggle, and it is against the Catholic Church that a campaign of discrediting and lies is waged. Therefore courage in vindicating Christian beliefs and fidelity to Church tradition are particularly necessary in our times.

Today, when the world ever more resembles that foolish man ‘which built his house on the sand’ (Matt. 7: 26) it is the Church’s duty to remind the society of its firm foundation of the family as a union between a man and woman created with the purpose of giving birth to and bringing up children. Only this type of family, as ordained by the Lord when he created the world, can forestall or at least halt temporarily modern-day society’s further descent into the abyss of moral relativism.

The Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, has always in her teaching followed Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition in asserting the principle of the sanctity of marriage founded on the Saviour’s own words (Matt. 19: 6; Mk. 10: 9). In our time this position should be ever more strengthened and unanimous. We should defend it jointly both within the framework of dialogue with the legislative and executive branches of power of various countries, as well as in the forums of international organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe. We ought not to confine ourselves to well-intentioned appeals but should by all means possible ensure that the family is legally protected.

Solidarity among the Churches and all people of good will is essential for guarding the family from the challenges of the secular world and thereby protecting our future. I hope that one of the fruits of the Assembly of the Synod will be the further development of Orthodox-Catholic co-operation in this direction.

I wish you peace, God’s blessing and success in your labours.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Clemens Romanus says:


  2. jfk03 says:

    A fine statement. Too bad the Russian Church is joined at the hip to Vladimir Putin’s autocratic state. Too bad that the Metropolitan is the enemy of Greek Catholics.

  3. Iacobus M says:

    The Metropolitan says of liberalizing Protestants (and, by implication, those Catholics who seek to emulate them): “We are witnessing the betrayal of Christianity by those who are prepared to accommodate themselves to a secular, godless and churchless world.” True. Didn’t Christ himself tell us that we couldn’t serve two masters? And the ruler of this age doesn’t take kindly to competition.

  4. stephen c says:

    Wonderful letter, but it would have been nice to see a reference to the teachings of Humanae Vitae. Why? Because the Russian Orthodox in general – not the writer of this letter, however – have let the rest of us down by failing to clearly and unanimously state that contraception is wrong. Sorry for the following run-on sentence, but here goes: As much as I feel sorry for those who are saddened by all the recent talk about how contraception and adultery and similar sins are things that those of us not much tempted thereto should shut up about because of other people’s inviolable right to conscience, I cannot help thinking that every single unrepentant pastor – no exceptions, not even the priests in my parish who I otherwise admire – who has not specifically spoken out at least once against contraception – the least “easy” of the family-related issues, I suppose ( I personally have never been called on to preach, and I can only guess that it is not easy to criticize married couples, they are not like the adulterers and the gays and the other libertines, who are so easy to criticize, after all) every single one of those pastors who fears, for whatever reason, describing contraception as the sin that it is , has no right whatsoever to be overly disappointed when others speak out for adultery and similar sins ( the victims of which are, let’s not forget, by definition among the poorest of the poor). From that point of view, the liberals at the Synod who follow the first century Pharisees’ line on divorce are a salutary blessing to us all.

  5. Vikingconvert says:

    Metropolitan Hilarion, as usual, providing clarity and truth to a secular world. Like Cardinal Burke, he’s not afraid to teach the truth. God grant them many years!

  6. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Sad, very day, that he did not call his own church to do penance for their approval of up to three divorces and remarriages with communion after the first two. I think the word for him starts with H. Reform your own church’s sins against marriage “metropolitan” and then we might listen to you.

  7. Grumpy Beggar says:

    The part I like the most, is that it isn’t just words. Russia for the most part seem to be trying to really put their money where their mouth is, when we consider:

    Russian Sociologists have realized for some time now that abortion over the years played a major role in their declining population level.Now, they are implementing a plan to work against abortion. And they’re bringing the fight, and the Russian Orthodox Church right on to the front lines – that same area which , in the western world, has been restricted by all the BS of the political correctness-based legislation we now have.
    Russia: Church and State Sign Agreement to Prevent Abortion.

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject of legislation, we might tip our hat to Moscow for passing legislation that bans propaganda normalising homosexuality- including gay pride parades and for the next 100 years.

    I wonder if we prayed hard and long enough, whether we might even witness the Orthodox and Catholic Churches coming back into full communion in our lifetime ? If Metropolitan Hilarion can smell the funny odour coming from one or two seams in the synod . . . why is it so many Catholics can’t ? It’s as if we’ve been lulled into an apathetic state.

  8. JGavin says:

    This being said , I could not help but think of the practice of up to three marriages.
    I think, however , with all do respect to Father Thompson, pointing this out the metropolitan serves no purpose. The metropolitan rightly points out the betrayal of Christian teaching proposed by liberal Catholics and carried out in the Protestant ecclesial communities. He has with some erudition reminded the participants in this synod of their obligations to uphold Christian teaching. One notes that the document includes in its address His Holiness. Lest we call this impertinent, please be reminded of St. Paul upbraiding St. Peter when the latter withdrew from eating with Gentile converts for fear of violating the laws if Kashrut. I hope that the metropolitan’s words find their way to these deliberations.

  9. SpanishCatholic says:

    Wow! First a lay woman doctor sounding more like a what a faithful Catholic Bishop should sound like and now the Orthodox Metropolitan sounding more Catholic than the Pope! What is the world coming too?

  10. excalibur says:

    Nice, but the source is a problem. The Fatima Message, the error of Russia. It is Russia, as the USSR, which started the ball rolling fast for all this anti-family stuff. Only the fulfillment of Mary’s request at Fatima matters. Nothing else.

  11. Benedict Joseph says:

    Praise be Jesus Christ!
    What a consolation to read this.
    A statement worthy of the papacy, but it seems not to be heard from that quarter at this moment. May events to come prove me grievously mistaken. Sadly, Fr. Augustine speaks the truth. The Orthodox must rectify their own practice.

  12. DonL says:

    “…Even if Satan himself says it….”
    Ah, truth, that ever so available, yet, ever so elusive, enemy of this world.

  13. Christ_opher says:

    I hope that the Synod is listening because any changes that are made concerning communion and marriage is clearly a betrayal of truth.

    The focus has been on minorities and yet a whole family that attends mass and receives the sacraments is in itself a minority.

    If some of the cardinals and bishops had reflected on the practises that they have allowed to seep into the various masses where they are ultimately responsible they might have discovered that the problem has mainly arisen from their lack of action. It’s the same for the congregation in the sense that if we looked within ourselves to establish whether we are truly living a Catholic life 24 / 7 and trying to be virtuous inside and outside of the mass things may change for the better.

  14. steve jones says:

    All the interesting ideas or new thinking is coming from the East. Add to this statement the accusation of moral imperialism levelled at the West by the Hungarian PM who is Lutheran but married to a Catholic and the recent synod intervention by the Romanian doctor and a picture emerges: the West is intellectually dead. The post-War settlements and hegemonies are nothing more than “too big to fail” projects with Vatican II itself co-opted into the failure. We need some new ideas and the blogs are a modest start to this process.

  15. LarryW2LJ says:

    And the shame of it all is that the bishops need to be reminded of this.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    I am not sure that we need new ideas, the more I think this through, but, rather, we need clarity of the truth and good witness. Let’s not kid our selves, all of these, “new perspectives on marriage,” – Communion for the divorced and re-married, recognition of homosexual unions – of which some bishops are saying we must accommodate, started with a sin against marriage. It is this sin we must convict and sin we must overturn, both in ourselves and others. We can “mercy” our way into Hell, if we are not careful. One of the best teachings I ever heard at a retreat was many years ago when the retreat Master said, “Sometimes, we can be uncharitable in our charity,” meaning that , sometimes, in trying to do what we think is charity, we wind up doing a work of uncharity. This is exactly what the New Perspective proponents are doing. They are damning people with mercy, or, rather, false mercy. This happens because of a lack of clarity in understanding the situation or a lack of good example.

    Can we fix the current situation? Yes, but not without a lot of personal suffering. We have to be so clear and so open about where the truth lies and so willing and able to explain why it is the truth that anyone who hears us is edified – that’s an old-fashioned term worth reviving. There are many examples of martyrs, but perhaps the best example of those who stood up to “New Ways” which were nothing more than a repudiation of God are the 13 Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, who, little nuns that they were, brought about a big thing – the collapse of the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution. By their singular witness to truth, quietly, determined, they silenced a mob cavorting around the guillotine as at a Sunday picnic. The opera, The Dialogue of the Carmelites, by Francois Poulenc, based on the libretto by George Bernanos (based on the short story, The Song at the Scaffold, by Gertrude von Le Fort, translated from the original German) is a testimony of what prayer and holiness can accomplish in the face of the most perverse political theories.

    Christ said (Matt 5: 17 – 20):

    “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
    For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
    Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Which side is relaxing the commandments, eh? We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Salt is a preservative and light is a cleansing agent. It may shock some people to be told that humility has a stubborn streak about it, but humility is truth, that specific truth of man’s relationship before God, and the truth is stubborn. We need to be stubborn in humility, but joyful in our suffering. It is our witness that will save the world, by word, by deed, by death, by life. Here’s the real secret behind the perversion of marriage, today – modern man is afraid of death. He is so afraid of death that he is in denial of it and the reality of what death means – The Judgment. Man wants to be judged acceptable, now, in this life, because he is afraid to peer into the next one. If people contemplating marriage realized that every sacrament is a preparation for death, it would force them to judge their actions by the standard of eternity. Psychologists have spent the last 50 years trying to get people to live in the “Now,” when, really, they should be thinking more about, “Then.”

    We need to be a people of the Four Last Things. We need to always live our lives on the cusp of judgment. We need to show the world the joy on the other side of death, of dying to self, so that we can pull them towards a fitting eternal destiny with God, instead of the phantom God of their own acceptance. “God as you conceive of Him to be,” in the words of Alcoholics Anonymous, won’t cut it. They must learn to come to know themselves as God conceives of them to be. For all of the cry of, “I’ve got to be me,” how little most people truly know themselves…

    If you want to see the antidote for the break-up of the family, look at the Cross. I have not heard this Synod preach the Cross. No, the Cross is death, is non-acceptance by the crowds. We’ve got to be accepted, don’t ya know…

    The Chicken

  17. FL_Catholic says:

    Oh how I wish we could have Bishops or Popes that spoke as clearly as this! Someday the Orthodox and Catholics will be reunited, and I long for that day, for then we may be able to get someone like Kirill on the Throne and really work to fix the state of the Church and the World. What a wonderful speech, I hope the Synod Fathers were listening..

  18. Kathleen10 says:

    As always, well put, Chicken.
    And to that end, we need Scripture, the teachings of Christ, not politics and sociology, which do not change people lives much and certainly do not touch life after death. Where is Scripture? There are many competing issues that disturb about this Synod and the last one, but one of the most disturbing is how little the Synod fathers are relying on Scripture for their positions. We hear too much personal and worldly opinion and very little about what Christ taught! That alone, is enough to tell us some very disturbing facts about where we are and how we got here.
    It seems many of these Cardinals have “moved past Jesus” and now they are too learned for the plain Gospel.
    We are now indeed a remnant. It could not be more clear. We are the “smaller church” Pope Benedict mentioned. And now, what is the remedy. Many of the faithful are now more Catholic than too many of the men in the Vatican.

  19. Magash says:

    The real problem is the heresy of Universal Salvation. Those synod fathers who are pushing this believe that sin is not efficacious, that is, that God will extend mercy to all, irregardless of the state of their soul at death. The rest then becomes the natural, logical, conclusion of that premise.
    If sin doesn’t matter then why make people unhappy and potentially drive them away by trying to force them to live a moral life? Let them live as they want inside the Church, where their Church Tax will continue to pour into the coffers of the diocese. Why make them feel uncomfortable in their sin if their sin doesn’t matter?
    Like all heresy this one quickly leads to the wheels coming off the bus.

  20. Ferde Rombola says:

    The admonitions of Fr. Thompson aside, and taking the text for what it says, the Metropolitan’s message is a welcome breath of fresh air. If the Pope and the renegade bishops have a shred of Christian integrity in them, there is no way they can ignore it. If they seek the good of the Church over their own agenda, there is no way they cannot alter their course. IF.

    I always look forward to The Chicken’s remarks and never fail to be enlightened by them. There is an as yet indomitable force in the way of the search for Truth. Donald Weurl, Blaise Cupich and Bruno Forte will brush The Chicken’s words off like so much lint. Homosexuals have one goal and one only; the completion of the homosexual agenda. Until the Church retires permanently Weurl, Cupich, Forte and the many hundreds like them, the Truth, and those who seek the Truth, will continue to suffer. Currently bearing the weight of the very Pope who empowered these men and others like them, the Church and her faithful bishops are swimming against the current.

  21. Father G says:

    Well, I’m glad he didn’t take this occasion to take potshots at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as he did last year:

  22. Traductora says:

    The Orthodox Church is very orthodox…in general doctrine. However, with them you see an example of Francis’ longed-for “devolution,” which is essentially the establishment of national churches. These would be “autocephalous,” in church-speak.

    All it has done is break up the Eastern Church into warring ethnic and language groups, maintain a more or less common liturgy, but completely remove any emphasis on doctrine or teaching. You will find that Orthidox priests and bishops mention moral issues even less often than do Catholics…which is saying a lot.

    I think Hilarion knows this. As for Moscow, it considered itself the Third Rome, and at this rate, one day it may be so.

  23. aquinas138 says:

    Just a clarification on Orthodox practice with respect to divorce and remarriage. The Orthodox Church theoretically tolerates an upper limit of four marriages, whether previous marriages were ended by divorce or by death. Catholic polemics make it seem like Orthodox people get divorced all the time; that simply isn’t true. The divorce is only granted after serious efforts have been made to repair the relationship. The permission of the bishop is needed to have a second marriage. And while a third and fourth marriage are theoretically permissible, permission is unlikely to be forthcoming after a second divorce; a widow or a widower is a more likely candidate for a third wedding. The seemingly arbitrary number of 4 probably arose from a particular case in Byzantine history.

    This also means that, again theoretically, a Catholic could obtain many more putative marriages and civil marriages than an Orthodox Christian could since there is no theoretical bar to the number of declarations of nullity a Catholic person might obtain. Also, whereas a four-time widow could remarry in the Catholic Church, this would be absolutely forbidden among the Orthodox.

    The Eastern and Western Churches, in living basically apart from each other since the 9th century, developed very differently and with little reference to each other. The basic difference is a completely different cultural idea of law: the Roman tradition regards the law as a minimum that must be kept under pain of grave sin, whereas the Byzantine tradition regards it as an ideal that is difficult to attain, and concessions are made to human weakness. This difference is most obviously reflected in fasting disciplines – the Roman Church has steadily eroded this discipline to make the law easy to fulfill. The Orthodox rules still represent the ancient discipline of essentially vegan diets and several days where food is not permitted at all; each person’s spiritual father helps them work towards keeping as much of the rules as is appropriate for their level of spiritual maturity.

    None of the above is to suggest that the Catholic doctrine is false, but only to clarify that the Orthodox Church does not provide multiple no-fault divorces like many Protestant groups or secular society and that Catholic apologists do well not to mischaracterize what the “situation on the ground” is.

  24. SaintJude6 says:

    Thank you for that clarification. As Catholics we also need to be honest and admit that with so many dioceses granting annulments in 100% of their cases (our priest had a printout of all the U.S. dioceses’ numbers, and the first fifteen pages were granting 100%), we have, in practice, embraced “Catholic divorce”. And that is before the new fast track option.

  25. The Masked Chicken says:

    Whew! My feathers are hurting. I just barely got back from an alternate universe where the Synod on the Family just broke up (I flew through the wormhole before it shut up and singed my feathers on the event horizon). It was a glorious celebration with modestly dressed married couples holding hands at the world-wide Masses being said to end the Synod and hopeful young men and women shyly holding hands as they knelt down in prayer, reciting the prayer of Tobias and Sarah.

    In this universe, by contrast, the situation at this Synod sounds like it is straight out of the movie, Pleasantville. Although some people liked the movie, it reads like the New Perspective movement of the Synod. Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia:

    “David (Tobey Maguire) and his twin sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) lead different high-school social lives. Jennifer is shallow and extroverted; David is introverted and spends most of his time watching television. One evening while their mother (Jane Kaczmarek) is away, they fight over the TV. Jennifer wants to watch a concert on MTV, but David wants to watch a marathon of Pleasantville, a black and white 1950s sitcom about the idyllic Parker family. During the fight, the remote control breaks, and the TV cannot be turned on manually.

    A mysterious TV repairman (Knotts) shows up, quizzes David about Pleasantville, then gives him a strange remote control. The repairman leaves, and David and Jennifer resume fighting. However, they are transported into the Parkers’ black and white Pleasantville living room in 1958. David tries to reason with the repairman (with whom he communicates through the Parkers’ television), but he succeeds only in chasing him away. David and Jennifer must now pretend they are Bud and Mary Sue Parker, the son and daughter on the show.

    David and Jennifer witness the wholesome nature of the town, such as a group of firemen rescuing a cat from a tree. David tells Jennifer they must stay in character and not disrupt the lives of the town’s citizens, who do not notice any difference between Bud and Mary Sue, and David and Jennifer. To keep the show’s plot Jennifer dates a boy from high school, but has sex with him – a concept unknown to him and everyone else in town.

    Slowly, Pleasantville begins changing from black and white to color, including flowers and the faces of people who have experienced bursts of emotion and personal transformation. David introduces Mr. Johnson (Daniels), owner of the cheeseburger joint/soda fountain where Bud works, to colorful modern art via a book from the library, sparking in him an interest in painting. Johnson and Betty Parker (Allen) fall in love, causing her to leave home, throwing George Parker (Macy), Bud and Mary Sue’s father, into confusion. The only people who remain unchanged are the town fathers, led by the mayor, Big Bob (Walsh), who sees the changes eating at the values of Pleasantville. They resolve to do something about their increasingly independent wives and rebellious children.

    As the townsfolk become more colorful, a ban on “colored” people is initiated in public venues. Eventually, a riot is touched off by a nude painting of Betty (painted by Johnson) on the window of Mr. Johnson’s soda fountain. The soda fountain is destroyed, books are burned, and people who are “colored” are harassed in the street. As a reaction, the town fathers announce rules preventing people from visiting the library, playing loud music, or using paint other than black, white, or gray. In protest, David and Mr. Johnson paint a colorful mural on a brick wall, depicting their world, prompting their arrest. Brought to trial in front of the town, David and Mr. Johnson defend their actions, arousing enough anger and indignation in Big Bob that the mayor becomes colored as well.

    Having seen Pleasantville change irrevocably, Jennifer stays to finish her education, but David uses the remote control to return to the real world.”

    I realize that some in the Synod want to make a contrast between black-and-white morality and colored morality, but all of the colors in Pleasantville come from sin. All of the “modern color” relationships that are so disruptive to marriage are a result of sin, so why is this Synod trying to figure out a way to accommodate sin?

    You see, here is what the Synod Fathers (some of them) have not quite realized about gradualism: God is never going to run out of the desire for you to return to grace, but you might run out of time to get there. Gradualism assumes, quite erroneously, that there is always enough time to be gradual about dealing with sin. That situation is rare. Gradualism is always a risk.

    Council Fathers: people are addicted to themselves, these days. Would you, sincerely, ask an alcoholic to stop drinking, little-by-little; a cocaine addict to shoot up a little less often; a validation addict (for that is what adulterous and homosexual unions crave) to have one less, “You’re Okay,” a day?

    The world is NOT more complex, these days, otherwise, there could be no universal, time-independent laws called Commandments. Christ nowhere said that the Commandments shall only be observed until 2015 and then they would need to be modified because the world had become more complex. The world is not more complex, it is more distracting, like Pleasantville run amok with so many arbitrary, false, distinctions and varieties of sin masquerading as public virtue. The problems of today are not an intractable mess requiring a supercomputer to solve. Rather, it is the result of trying to do simple math while allowing division by zero. Get rid of the bugs in the program and the computer will stop crashing. Synod documents should be written in black and white, not a new color for each letter. That isn’t pleasant at all.

    The Chicken

  26. THREEHEARTS says:

    First I might point out an argument I had one time in the Catholic Church. Commenting on my blog the conscience stricken opponent said you write wonderfully but lack charity. I asked him who is perfect charity. He answered Christ I asked who is perfect truth. He answered Christ. I did not need to ask is perfect charity also perfect truth. He had already answered. Excalibur, I do not mean to rude does not know Bl. Mary’s words properly. Probably has some latter opinion than I write, “Thomas Walsh’s”. Our Mary asked for all the bishops in the world to unite with the Pope and consecrate Russia. Russian Byzantines are in a direct line with the Apostles too. Would Mary leave them out, do you think Mary would? I do not think so. On my blog I linked the Church’s Doctrine on Merits (Acts of Charity) to the consecration of Russia. There are levels of Charity and the doctrine allows for the frailties of mankind in the consecration and shows how any holy act can be tainted and not perfect.
    The OP fellow does not I think understand the reason for the divorces in the eastern Church. Personally I do not like the reasons now and certainly not three and you missed who else they allow to receive the Eucharist. Our Latin Church wrote a canon law itemizing who should not get communion and I ask the OP father how many times have you given communion to those you do not even know? Give your address in the comments and I will send you a bucket of stones. By the way after the second world war so many families were broken and separated in Russia, the Ukraine and all over eastern Europe and despite many efforts no trace was found of separated partners and so divorces or annulments were allowed. In cases of later years accommodations crept in.

  27. BarefootPilgrim says:

    Metropolitan Hilarion is a holy man of God. A holy man of God. Please pray fervently for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    Here is something from his St. Matthew Passion – “O Lord my God, I will sing to Thee a funeral hymn. Alleluia. Thine all-holy Mother weeps for Thee lamenting..”

    Our Lady knew what she was asking for.

  28. NBW says:

    @The Chicken: AMEN!!!! The Synod comparison to to Pleasantville is genius!

  29. Matt R says:

    The more nuanced view of the Orthodox practice is fair. The “accomodation” of someone who is admitted to the sacraments after being divorced is a problem. It contradicts the words of Christ. But, it depends on your jurisdiction and your own circumstances. The same is true with regards to Orthodox approval of some forms of contraception. That I would argue is something even less common than so-called oikonomia and can be seen as nothing to worry about as far as the degree of the maintenance of the deposit of faith by Orthodox Christians is concerned.

  30. pfreddys says:

    Wow! This I think is an example of true ecumenism. I can therefore hear the synod fathers with their own agenda laughing it to scorn.

  31. sahn105 says:

    Ironic — Don’t the Orthodox allow divorce? I thought Cardinal Kasper was trying to allow the error of communion or remarriage the “Orthodox solution”. Now, I’m very confused indeed!

  32. While Russia had its problems, they are now the ones resisting unnatural marriage while the US, the land of the “free”, is the one under the callous delinquent democrat party swallowing every error and vice with one gulp.

  33. Augustine says:

    It sounds like the conversion of Russia is being wrought as the apostasy of the West is kicked into high gear by the “Continental” Church, in the words of Card. Pell.

  34. Ages says:

    sahn105 asks: “Don’t the Orthodox allow divorce?”

    It is a complex situation. In addition to what aquinas138 said above, I would just add that I’m a member of the Patrirchate of Antioch, and this is a breakdown of our practice:

    Divorce: Only permitted after serious attempts to heal the marriage have failed, and especially if there was adultery involved, as scripture permits. Divorce can only be allowed by the bishop after appropriate ecclesiastical-legal steps have taken place. It is by no means as simple as a civil no-fault divorce. And afterwards, the divorcees would be penitents for an appropriate amount of time and barred from communion. The only divorced Orthodox I know have been in this state for well over a year. It will end at some point, but after the appropriate penance is fulfilled. It is a sin, but there must be a means for a person to repent, and it is serious repentance. Even the innocent party in an adulterous divorce must go through a period of repentance, because they were one flesh and the sin is shared to a degree.

    Remarriage: Only permitted with permission of the bishop, after considering the circumstances. It is not automatic and it is not a right. A convert with multiple previous civil divorces might not be permitted, for example. This also goes for widow(er)s, who must seek the bishop’s blessing. And if two previously-married people enter into a second marriage, the penitential marriage rite is used, which begins with Psalm 50/51 and is stripped of joyful elements. The clergy cannot attend the reception, the bride cannot wear white, and the wedding party is limited to two people.

    Third marriage: The final limit of the church’s mercy for extreme circumstances, and extremely rare. Probably reserved only to serial widow(er)s. More penitential still, only two witnesses are permitted, and the couple must wear business attire–no tuxes or dresses here. No reception dinner afterwards is permitted.

    Fourth marriage: Never permitted under any circumstance.

    So, is it allowed? Strictly speaking yes, but only with utmost sobriety and only when the bishop deems it necessary for the salvation of those involved. (Better to marry than burn, etc.)

  35. Pingback: Russian Metropolitan Hilarion to Synod: Don’t be Protestants | The Catholic Legate

  36. stephen c says:

    Ages – nobody in the last 2000 plus years has seriously argued that St Paul said engaging in adultery was an allowable alternative to not engaging in adultery for those who wished to engage in adultery. St Paul was referring to entering into the state of marriage (as opposed to declining to do so for the sake of the kingdom of God) in the passage you reference in the last few words of your comment. He was not referring to adultery.

  37. Ages says:

    stephen c: Poor choice of example on my part, and I wouldn’t want that to detract from the rest of my comment.

  38. stephen c says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I read too much into things sometimes.

  39. scotus says:

    “The salt which has lost its savour are those Protestant communities which call themselves Christian, but which preach moral ideals incompatible with Christianity. ” Not quite the same as ‘Don’t be Protestants’. He wasn’t criticising all Protestants but only certain Protestant communities.

  40. sahn105 says:

    @Ages, thank you for the response.

    First, I apologize if by seeing things realistically/pragmatically I over simplify. But, I see it as “if it’s allowable, permissable, OK then give it out and why try to limit it?” Applies to Extraordinary Form of Roman Rite, sacraments, holy water, miraculous medals, rosaries and remarriage. Point being IF it’s allowed and OK.

    Q. Is divorce allowed by Orthodox?
    A. Yes, but only in really special circumstances and your have to be really sorry, Bishop needs to give permission, etc.

    Q. Oh OK, so it’s allowed and it’s merciful. Then, why not give it to everybody and why limit it to 3?
    A. Well, only with utmost sobriety and only when the bishop deems it necessary…

    Bottom line: Isn’t what the German Episcopal group proposing what the Orthodox see OK theologically albeit with strict conditions? Marx and lot are valid bishops (secundum quid :P) and can make those calls too. So if the Orthodox metropolitan sees issue with divorce, why not first reflect within Orthodoxy?

    Finally, I am not for allowing divorce and civilly married, just confused by the Metropolitan’s comments. And, if it’s allowable by Orthodox why not let more people access to it? I did like the stinging comment about Protestants though.

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