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The Russian Orthodox Church or the Secular Western World?

Below we report four news items from this first half of January 2010. They appear to sum up present trends in Europe.

The temptations of the ancient world remain as before temptations for the human race. We see how European civilisation which was once built on Christian foundations is gradually being transformed into a pagan civilisation, from which the worship of the true God is being driven out and the cult of man, the cult of consumption, is being raised up in the place of God. Life lived according to the law of instinct is becoming a value preached by that civilisation.

Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all the Russias, Sunday of the Ancestors of Christ, 3 Jan 2010

My firm conviction is that the economic crisis was in reality an inevitable consequence of a spiritual crisis. Human envy, theft, fraud, speculation on financial markets and corruption accumulated over the years and swept through the whole world…I fully agree with our Patriarch Kyrill who said, ‘The crisis is the judgement of God on human injustice, greed, the inordinate desire to have as much as possible and on the loss of control over our consumption. It is a judgement on the desire to get rich by any means, forgetting true values and real ideas’’.

A spiritual crisis is much worse than any economic shock because it is much more difficult to overcome it and takes much longer to deal with. Very often, people berate our country for our old-fashioned moral values; they say that we are stuck in the past, that we are not part of the new-fangled trend of globalisation.

Well, maybe so, but I am convinced that this is our greatest achievement. We should be proud that the concepts of morality and spirituality are still sacred to us, that is how we will raise our children and that is how we will build a philosophy for the State. Last year’s experience clearly demonstrated that it is precisely those countries which defend their independence and spiritual identity that find it easier to cope with economic problems.

The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, 8 January 2010

In Paris, in an interview with the France Soir newspaper on 11 January, the Press Secretary of the Roman Catholic episcopate in France, Bernard Podevin has said that within fifteen years half of the Roman Catholic dioceses in France could close down. This is due to the lack of vocations. According to him, there are already regions where there is one priest for sixty parishes.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph on 12 January, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague considers that Europe has only itself to blame for its Islamisation. Archbishop Miloslav declared that ‘Europe must pay for its rejection of its own spiritual roots’ and that ‘now is the last brief moment when it can still change something’ He also said that there are ‘many reasons why Muslims are becoming dominant in Europe’. One of them is religious, for Muslims ‘contribute spiritual values and faith in God to a pagan European environment with its atheistic lifestyle’. ‘If Christians do not wake up, their life will be Islamised and Christianity will not have the strength to influence society’. The Cardinal added that at the end of the Middle Ages Muslims were unable to conquer Europe with arms, but that ‘today war is being waged with spiritual arms, Europe is unable to resist the well-armed Muslims and the fall of Europe is in sight’.

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