What Would the Conversion of Russia Look Like?

For much of the twentieth century, Catholics around the world prayed after every Low Mass for the conversion of Russia.

Called the Leonine Prayers, originally they were conceived as a protection of the sovereignty of the Papal States, which were then under attack. This intention ended with the Lateran Treaty of 1929 but the prayers continued from that time for the conversion of Russia that had become an atheistic state bent on destroying religion.

The prayers included 3 Ave Marias, a Salve Regina, a versicle and response, a prayer for the conversion of sinners and the “exaltation of Holy Mother Church,” ending with the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Pius X added the invocation “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.”

Before the prayers were suppressed in 1965 just think of the billions of them offered for this intention? From little schoolgirls to Catholic heads of state to canonized saints, they all prayed for the conversion of Russia. Does any faithful Catholic think that the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not the result of these prayers?

The Cold War—World War III—ended bloodlessly. A murderous regime that had killed millions upon millions and enslaved many more and had tried to enchain the human spirit was toppled almost miraculously. There should have been a victorious parade up Fifth Avenue in New York.

But the work of the Spirit was not yet finished. Toppling the regime was only part of it. The other part was conversion. And what did we think that would look like?

Last summer I visited Russia for the first time. In recent years, I have come to work closely with the Russian government at the UN. They have come alive on issues related to life and family.

Additionally, I have been working with a movie producer to make a film about the remarkable achievements of the American ballerina Keenan Kampa who last year became the first American and only the third foreigner ever invited to join the most storied ballet troupe in history, the Mariinsky of St. Petersburg.

I believe I’ve seen a glimpse of the conversion of Russia.

Vladimir Yakunin, head of the Russian railroad and a long-time close associate of Vladimir Putin, a man sometime suggested as Putin’s successor, had sponsored a visit to Russia of the True Cross of St. Andrew.

The True Cross of St. Andrew was burned in the French Revolution. Before being consumed in toto, a Catholic priest snatched it from the flames. During the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul the Great, it was returned to the Greek Orthodox Church.

Yakunin, along with his wife who brought her husband to the faith, brought the True Cross to Russia. It was shown in Moscow only a stone’s throw from the Kremlin at Christ Our Savior Cathedral, a highly symbolic Church that was built by the Tsar to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon but that was razed by Stalin and then rebuilt under Putin.

On the day I was there, the faithful stood in the rain for five hours to venerate the cross—to kiss the glass—for about one second before Cathedral aides gently but firmly shoved them on their way. Five hours in the rain for one second of veneration. Meditate on that.

The True Cross of St. Andrew is important to the Russian faithful because he preached along the Black Sea and is said to have traveled up the Dnieper River to plant a cross in what is now the site of St. Andrew’s Church of Kiev.

Under the auspices of his St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, Yakunin—who the Obama administration placed on the State Department list of those forbidden to do business in the U.S.—also sponsored a Russian tour of the Belt of Mary. Two million people are reported to have venerated that.

The Russians have long venerated the Mother of Jesus. One of religious and nationalistic symbols for Russians is Our Lady of Kazan, which rests in the Cathedral in St. Petersburg. This image is so important to the Russians that even wicked Stalin had it paraded around the walls of Leningrad to break the Nazi siege, which was then broken.

I bring up Yakunin deliberately. When I wrote about him a few years ago, a good friend of mine who worked in foreign policy for Vice President Cheney, refused to speak with me for six months. He is controversial. I bring him up to demonstrate the straightness of God’s crooked lines.

And what about Putin, another of God’s crooked lines?

It is clear that under his direction, the government has taken strong positions on life and family matters. Indeed, Russia is one of the leaders at the UN in rolling back anti-life language, in reforming the rapaciously pro-abortion treaty monitoring bodies, and in blocking the LGBT ascendancy.

Beyond politics, though, an American who is a bishop in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia tells me—as is well known in Russia—Putin has a confessor he sees once a week.

Recall that when President George W. Bush met Putin for the first time Putin was wearing the cross he wore as a baby when his mother secretly baptized him. It was saved from a fire and given to Putin by his mother prior to his first trip to Israel. He has never taken it off. Putin buried both his mother and his father out of the Church in St. Petersburg where she baptized him.

Russian experts Jiri Valenta and Leni Friedman Valenta, writing in the current issue of The National Interest tell us, “In our search for Putin’s soul, and through many interviews with Russian Orthodox clergy and believers throughout Russia, Europe and the Middle East, we’ve come to regard his embrace of religious orthodoxy as genuine.”

The Valentas consider rather than the “paranoid megalomaniac” he is portrayed as in the American press, he is more an “ambitious technocrat,” more than that, a “Christian autocrat.” He is not a democrat, like Andrei Sakharov, but more like the “anti-Bolshevik, religious-nationalist” Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Many will be appalled even to consider the sincerity of Putin’s religious beliefs. The proof of his insincerity is for all to see. They say Putin is merely using religious faith and social conservative politics to advance his imperialistic agenda. But, a well-placed Catholic living in Moscow tells me that Putin’s sincerity is not the most important thing. The most important thing is that Putin believes these are important for Russia, that it is important for Russians to practice the faith, to protect the unborn child, to block the LGBTs, and defend the faithful overseas.

And what of the Orthodox Church? It was greatly compromised during the Communist darkness so there is rebuilding to do. After all, attendance at the Orthodox Liturgy is still quite small. To their credit and with hope for the future they have a dynamic young bishop named Hilarion Alfeyev. Only 48, Metropolitan Hilarion is the head of external relations for the Church, the author of 600 articles and 40 books, possessing a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford, decidedly western in his outlook and quite friendly to the Catholic Church.

Fifteen years ago, he was the Orthodox representative to the reopening of the Catholic Cathedral in Moscow, what had been turned into an office building by the Reds. On behalf of the Orthodox Church, he warmly welcomed the reopening of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, still only one of two Catholic Churches in Moscow.

He has been to Rome many times and, working with Inside the Vatican founder Robert Moynihan and the conservative U.S.-based Bradley Foundation, has brought his orchestral works there, also to New York and Washington DC.

Last year, when Hilarion went to meet the new Pope as the official representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, he gave Francis an image of Our Lady of Humility, an obvious double message in addressing what separates East from West, the two lungs of the Church of Christ. The even more interesting thing about that gift and its giver is that Francis gave that exact gift to Pope Emeritus Benedict when they first met after Francis’ elevation. Hilarion was very pleased by this.

It is entirely possible that this western-looking polymath could end up as Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. After all, Hilarion’s boss, Patriarch Kirill, used to have Hilarion’s current job.

It is abundantly clear that Russia is profoundly important to the Catholic Church. There are the Leonine Prayers. But there is also Fatima. The Blessed Mother appeared in the era of the Russian Revolution, much concerned with atheistic Russia, and in her Second Secret asked for Russia to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Mary by the pope in communion with all the bishops of the world. According to Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima children, Pope St. John Paul the Great accomplished this on March 25, 1984. The Soviet Union folded a few years later. The video of John Paul II reading the prayers is quite dramatic.

It is unfortunate that the crises in Crimea and Ukraine have occurred. It is profoundly unfortunate for all those directly harmed in the war going on there now. There are grave injustices happening there, even as you read this. But the harm goes beyond the immediate and into opportunities now being missed.

In their National Interest piece the Valentas assert that Russia ought to be our partner in fighting ISIS, for instance. It is unclear that the Obama administration would really be interested in doing the hard things to make that happen, but if they did, they would find a experienced partner in the Russians.

The Russian government is outspoken in making the protection of Christians a foreign policy priority, while our own government has made LGBT ours. The Russians know the Islamist threat as well as any government in the world. They have fought radical Islam for decades, even centuries. The Russian government has offered citizenship to the Christians of Syria! The Russians have even made what appears to be a sincere move toward Israel.

None of this column should be read as an apology for Putin or his colleagues or the actions of his government. I agree with some and strongly disagree with others. The column should be read as a consideration that there are things going on in Russia that we certainly cannot understand by reading the New York Times and that we will not fully know until the General Judgment.

What we know is this. God writes straight with crooked lines and the devil hates such straightness. The devil rejoices in what divides us. Right now we are divided when we should be about His Father’s business, which includes the conversion of Russia and—while we’re at it—the conversion of America.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is Metropolitan Hilarion presenting Our Lady of Humility as a gift to Pope Francis at the Vatican on March 20, 2013. (Photo credit: L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO)

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

  • digpig

    Metropolitan Hilarion’s first appointment as a Bishop was to London, in 2002. It ended in disaster for him when three months later he was removed at the request of the Diocesan Bishop, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, on the ground that Hilarion had fomented division and strife in the Diocese. There is no evidence that Hilarion has since become a less abrasive character. He has openly spoken in favour of the Lviv Sobor of 1946 which forced the Greek Catholics in Ukraine to join the Russian Orthodox Church – and more recently has falsely accused Greek Catholics of making attacks on Russian Orthodox Christians.

  • How dare Austin write something about Russia that’s not “USA, USA, USA”? I mean, the US are a Davidic republic, a chosen race, aren’t they?

    • Objectivetruth

      The next time you contemplate the outcome of World War II for Europe, thank an American.

      • nonnenja

        Actually, Russia did far more to defeat Nazi Germany than the USA did. American history books won’t talk about it, for obvious reasons, but it’s true.

        • Maccabeus

          Russia would have had a very difficult time defeating Nazi Germany without American military aid. When FDR extended the Lend Lease program to Moscow, that made all the difference. I understand that the former USSR suffered more casualties during WW II than any other combatant, but Russia needed American aid to press on with the war. This is why Stalin repeatedly asked FDR when a second front would be opened in the West.

          • DE-173

            I understand that the former USSR suffered more casualties during WW II than any other combatant

            That was a comment on the willingness of the Soviet government to use their people as cannon fodder, not heroic sacrifice. Afterall, they were willing to starve millions in the “Harvest of Despair” to force them into the collective.

            Life is cheap to despots and tyrants. We’re just lucky Hitler was stupid enough to invade the USSR.

            • Watosh

              Yes it is true and I condemn using people for cannon fodder. But France, England, Germany and the U.S, sent thousands to death in WWI, they were cannon fodder. Our program to resettle VietNamese in fortified villages was done brutally, if anyone cares to check. And some of the battles of the civil War were slaughter. I am appalled at all of these slaughters.This is not to excuse Stalin and the Soviets, it is to recognize there is more evil in the world than that released by the Nazis and the Communists, evil as they unquestionably were.

              • DE-173

                Relativism is annoying, especially from an absolutist.

          • Barbaracvm

            What you said is true. HOWEVER, Stalin refused to return the allied POWs at the end of the war. They were used as slave labor in the mines. Schlozenniken mentioned in his books having worked in view of the American soldiers. They were kept separate from the other prisoners. They worked different lines from the others. They were not allowed to intermingle.

            • Victress Jenkins

              Another one of the Americans used as slave labor was an American Catholic priest, Walter Ciszak S.J. who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

        • DE-173

          First of all, “Russia” didn’t do anything to combat the Nazis, it was the Soviet Union, the same Soviet Union that assisted the Nazis by signing a “nonagression” (the Molotov-Ribbontrop) pact. Some times demons turn on each other, apparently.

          The best weapon the Soviets had was the winter the Nazis were unprepared to endure. The Soviets were quite content to exhort their residents to be grease spots under Panzers.

          Here’s “Uncle Joe” beaming at the signing.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MolotovRibbentropStalin.jpg

          • nonnenja

            I am not defending Stalin. He killed far more people than Hitler. I am simply pointing out that the USSR stopping the Nazis in the East and holding them for several years was a major part of the war which would have made the allied effort far more difficult otherwise. Even the German forces that the allies attacked on D-Day had already been weakened by the Soviets. The war was fought on two fronts, and the American history cowboy version that America won the war alone is distorted history.

            • gaeliclass

              absolutely the Brits gave their lives (so many did not come back), their future, their economy..– have people such a short memory.. that is tragic..

            • DE-173

              “am simply pointing out that the USSR stopping the Nazis in the East”
              Except the USSR did not stop the Nazis. The Russian winter did.
              If you are unfamiliar with this, get the 1970’s TV series “World at War”.
              The Panzers stopped when the temperature got so low their oil was a thick goo.

              • Holy smokes

                That is only part of the story. The German´s over extended their LOCs (the Tyranny of Distance), coupled with bad operational strategy (one of the reasons for the coup attempt). That, combined with the winter and the hatred for the occupying force, led to the Nazi defeat on the Eastern Front. The winter played a major role but not the only one.

          • Watosh

            Yes the Nazis were aided by many of the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine, members now of the current Kievian government. Russia lost maybe 25 million people to the Nazi invasion. The Russians produced a tank that was equal or better than the average German tank, their fighter plane as as good as the Germans and in battles like Stalingrad they certainly showed toughness. They did this whir moving their industry eastward hundreds and hundred s of miles under wartime conditions. The Russians, may have been aided by winter but 30 below was just as cold for them as it was for the Germans. Why can’t some be big about the what the Russians accomplished.? Are we so small we can’t admit that another people has done something memorable? Does it diminish us to admit some others have shown valor. Why do we feel we must denigrate the Russian war effort. 3/4 of the German Army was fighting on the Russian front. Sure they were governed by the evil communists but the Russian people should be given credit. It is ungracious to play down their accomplishments. Sure they enslaved many countries after the war. but they also allied those countries their independence and did not contest their separation from the Soviet Empire. When the south wished to succeed, we certainly contested this by military force.

            • gaeliclass

              agreed and they are truly leading as far as demonstrating Christian values and protecting them – our countries are doing the exact opposite .. and our businesses are being closed if we go against ‘the left wing lobby groups’..- Putin has some things very right..

            • Ronk

              “the Nazis were aided by many of the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine, members now of the current Kievian government.”

              Really? So as these supposed collaborators must have been say at least 12 years old to be able to give any possibly useful “aid” to the Nazis, they must be about 90 years old now. All of the members of the current Ukraine government whom I have seen on TV and photos appear to be about half that age.

              • DE-173

                With Watosh, one should never attempt to pierce the fortress of his rants with facts or reason.

        • LT Brass Bancroft

          Except for at first, when they were on the same side.

        • LT Brass Bancroft

          As I said to another in this comments section, if we had left it all to the Russians, Pius XII’s relics would be in Siberia. Patton had the right idea as far as I’m concerned.

        • gaeliclass

          ??

      • Aldo Elmnight

        And a Russian. They lost far more than any of the other allies.

        • DE-173

          Stalin as much as Hitler was responsible for those deaths.

          Of course Germany financed Lenin’s takeover of Russia. Upon taking power, Lenin returned the favor and ceased hostilities with the Kaiser. A twisted mess is the 20th century, Germany, Russia and the USSR.

          • Objectivetruth

            Another good Patton quote (who was Catholic):

            “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

        • ForChristAlone

          Weren’t the Russians invaded by the Nazi army?

          • Erin Fladmo

            Yes, though Hitler and Stalin had previously made an agreement to conquer and divide Poland in 1939. The Nazi invasion of Russia began in 1941.

          • DE-173

            Yes. So much for their transgression pact.

        • DE-173

          It is a peculiar calculus that estimates the the combatant that loses the most life is the one that contributed the most to the victory.

          • Barbaracvm

            Patton said it best, you don’t win the war by dieing for your country. You win the war by making the other SOB die for his country.!

        • Erin Fladmo

          Indeed. Russia lost some 20 million people in the entire conflict.

          • DE-173

            As much due to the Soviet view that one should die for the state as much to the Nazi capacity for mass murder.

            • Erin Fladmo

              Quite true.

        • LT Brass Bancroft

          If we had left it all to the Russians, Pius XII’s relics would be in Siberia.

        • LT Brass Bancroft

          Western Europeans can thank Britons and Americans. Eastern Europeans, with the exception of the survivors of Auschwitz, don’t have to thank anybody since they still had 45 more years of oppression at the hands of… the Russians!

      • QED

        • Objectivetruth

          You really have this insecure hang up about the United States, don’t you?

      • Catholic pilgrim

        I support America when she supports the Catholic Church, I support Russia when she supports the Catholic Church. I oppose both (or either of them) when they oppose the Catholic Church which is the Holy Bride of Christ Jesus.

        • Josh

          AMEN!

      • gaeliclass

        excuse me.. if the Brits had not done what they did … the world would be a different place today.. the Americans came in at the end of the war.. You don’t seem to know your history too well.. Thank God for the great statesman Sir Winston Churchill (his kind are no longer made..today we mostly have wimps for men who are so politically correct that not only are they walking around in straight-jackets but their followers do exactly the same. Hopefully some good men (and women) will have the stamina to do what needs to be done for this globe.

        • Objectivetruth

          “the Americans came in at the end of the war..”

          Ahem…..You might want to think about this statement a little further…..

          And possibly you might want to look into how the outcome of the European theatre in World War II might have looked without US involvement.

          And here we go ago….again….

          The world’s on fire again, and all of Europe is doing NOTHING waiting for the US once again to handle things.

          And what are your plans in Britain for the 1000 British Muslim citizens fighting for ISIS, beheading Catholic Americans, when they return? Are you going to have a parade for them?

          • gaeliclass

            I did not say that sir.. of course the Americans helped us win the war but they did come in later..- you must know that.
            And yes without the US we would not have won the war..no one is saying anything to the contrary. Don’t be ridiculous .. every single one of those men who are beheading catholic Americans, Christian Iraqis and others need to face capital punishment.. David Cameron and your own President have been remiss in protecting our borders.. — it is time to turn that boat around… hope this makes clear my pt of view..

            • Objectivetruth

              So what is going on over there?? When is Europe going to get into the fight!? Are you so worried about upsetting the “sensibilities” of your ever expanding Muslim populations? You do realize they probably agree with what ISIS is doing, trying to create a worldwide Islamic caliphate? ISIS is going to continue to grow. We watched with horror as Catholic American Jim Foley was decapitated by a terrorist with a British accent. And trust me…..he was chosen first to be beheaded because they knew he was a devout Catholic.

              I wish Margaret Thatcher was still PM. RAF Tornados would be flying in formation with US F/A-18 Super Hornets right now on their way to bombing runs in Northern Iraq.

              Get in to the fight, Europe. You’ll regret your turning a blind eye to this.

            • Objectivetruth

              “I did not say that sir.. ”

              Reread your posting.

            • DE-173

              No we didn’t “help you win the war”. You helped us.

          • DE-173

            England has been a terrorist state since St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher.

        • Churchill was a warmonger who never saw a war he disliked. Out of the same mold that hgaveave the world WWI, with its entangled alliances and imperialistic ambitions, he gave us WWII. His legacy: once the sun never set on the British Empire, at the end of his term, the sun had set on it for good. Thank God his ilk is no longer made!

          • LT Brass Bancroft

            So, Churchill was a warmonger. What is Putin, then?

            • DE-173

              Putin is the guy who could take Kiev in two weeks if he wanted to do so.

          • LT Brass Bancroft

            Churchill didn’t invade Poland. It was your heroes Stalin and Hitler who did that.

          • schmenz

            Augustine: it must be tiresome for you (as it is for me) to have to endure the jingoism of the commentators who shriek at your every post. But I encourage you to keep trying your best to look at the USA with a little more honesty than they obviously do. Mr Ruse’s article was most welcome, and his last line about hoping/praying for the conversion of America (now the world’s number one trouble-maker) could not be more apt – especially in view of some of these comments.

            • It’s quite sad that in order to answer all of them feel the need to calumniate me directly or via innuendo. They feel that in order to defend their misinformed notions of civics they need to put me down. A very sorry spectacle that, considering that it comes from those on the side of the angels, bodes quite badly for the future of this nation in frank decline.

              • Objectivetruth

                What country are you from so I may criticize it, the way you are criticizing the US?

                • The irony of your nickname is unbearable!

                  • Objectivetruth

                    Country????

                    • Augustus

                      He’s from South America, Argentina or Brazil I think. It makes sense. The Europeans are more grateful–at least the older ones.

                    • LT Brass Bancroft

                      He’s probably Eichmann’s bastard son.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    I’ll bet it’s Iran. Are you Iranian??

                  • Objectivetruth

                    And the sour puss look on your head is really creepy.

                  • DE-173

                    So is yours.

              • LT Brass Bancroft

                What do you expect when you insult Americans in the first post? The article has nothing to do with America.

                • Except that I didn’t, but those who idolize America seem to take offense at criticism of their idol.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    What country are you from?

                    • Because someone who doesn’t think that America can do no wrongwrong, who doesn’t worship at its altar, must be a foreigner, some sort of fifth column! Racist xenophobia is the natural step after jingoism after all.

                    • schmenz

                      Augustine: I wouldn’t bother answering these people because judging from the Junior High School level of intelligence they display I’m afraid any efforts on your part to help them would be time wasted. For the very same reason I haven’t bothered to feed their egos by answering them.

                      It is well known that there are actually people who are paid to go on websites and spout the official party line (Israel, in fact, uses this technique masterfully to deflect criticism of their various war crimes) so it would not surprise me that this might be the case here. If it isn’t then these people are indeed a sorry lot.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Nice! An attack on Israel!

                      I’m always fascinated by how much Europeans obsess about the United States.

                      And when Americans think about Europe…..well, actually……we spend little if any time thinking about Europe. We could care less.

                    • DE-173

                      “I wouldn’t bother answering these people because judging from the Junior High School level of intelligence”
                      Junior high school is an indication of a level of education, not intelligence. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

                    • DE-173

                      It’s not that we don’t think the United States does no wrong, it’s that you refuse to acknowledge that it does any good.

                  • LT Brass Bancroft

                    Your post was obviously meant to insult American patriots.

                    • Obviously you think that you can read minds and you seemingly confuse nationalism with patriotism.

                    • LT Brass Bancroft

                      You presented a caricature of patriotism.

                    • What I presented is called nationalism, regrettably confirmed umpteen times in these comments as the typical substitute of patriotism. For while the latter is the love for a nation, the former is the idolization of a country.

                    • LT Brass Bancroft

                      Whatever you insist on calling it, why would you bring it up unless you wanted to start something?

                    • Believe you me, with the best intention to spurn some self-criticism, which I evidently lack with regards to my delivery.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Spain? Are you from Spain? Let me know so I can criticize it!

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Turkey….or Greece? Are you from Greece???

                    • DE-173

                      And you are just confused.

                    • DE-173

                      But who are you to judge?

                  • Objectivetruth

                    What country? You like to attack others nationality, but won’t tell us your own.

                    We have a word in the US for people like that: coward.

              • DE-173

                “It’s quite sad that, in order to answer, all of them feel the need to calumniate me directly or via innuendo”

                Oh please, your opening rant was the ne plus ultra of calumny. Unprovoked and unmerited to boot.

            • Objectivetruth

              So what country are you from, so I may critique it, the way you are critiquing my country?

            • Objectivetruth

              Where are you from, schmenz….North Korea?

            • DE-173

              People “shriek” at his every post because he harbors a poorly vieled contempt for the the United States (much like your own) even to the point of unfairly accusing Mr. Ruse of nationalism when his writings are focused more on moral matters than those of statecraft.

              (now the world’s number one trouble-maker)

              You need a one-way ticket to China, Noth Korea or any place where Islam holds sway.

    • DE-173

      Anybody who reads Mr. Ruse’s columns knows that’s rash, and calumny. Congratulations on having two things to confess next time.

    • John O’Neill

      I believe that Pope Pius X declared Americanism to be a heresy; I could be wrong on that but I would not be surprised if it is true.

      • DE-173

        I’m waiting for Europeanism, and all other forms of statist to be declared a heresy.

      • Erin Fladmo

        Actually, it was Pope Leo XIII.

      • Objectivetruth

        Great……I’m really looking forward to watching all the Cathedrals of Europe turning into mosques. What’s your game plan then?

        • You mean those pyramids, once Christian churches, whose only constant human presence are the remains of dead Catholics? It’s not like Christianity is putting any resistance to Islam, having caved in decades ago to the much worse and deadlier secularism.

          • LT Brass Bancroft

            When your muzzie buddies take over, Mass will be a capital offense.

            • schmenz

              “When your muzzie buddies take over, Mass will be a capital offense.”

              This, sadly, is what passes for serious political discourse in 2014 America.

              • LT Brass Bancroft

                Am I wrong?

                • Augustus

                  The problem is that you are being flippant about a serious matter. Kirk would not use such casual language to make a serious point–even in a comment section.

                  • LT Brass Bancroft

                    Is it my use of the word “muzzie”? Let me rephrase. When the Muslims take over, Mass will be a capital offense. Just ask the Archbishop of Mosul. Augustine is the one who’s being flippant if he thinks that’s okay, just because most modern Europeans don’t go to Mass.

                  • DE-173

                    Oh please. Have you read his essay about “Chirping Sectaries”?

                    • Augustus

                      Yes, I have read the essay. It’s unclear whether you have. Or perhaps you are so eager to criticize that you failed to understand my objection. I objected to the use of “flippant” and “causal language” like baby talk because it only serves to discredit your argument–assuming there is one. Kirk never did that. He accused libertarians of a number of deficiencies, but he backed it up with argument and evidence. His tone was serious always. He never substituted insults for argument and he never discredited himself by communicating like a child. Kirk was very formal in his public demeanor. Don’t drag his name through the mud in a misplaced attempt to defend a perceived ally.

    • ForChristAlone

      are you being sarcastic?

      • LT Brass Bancroft

        I don’t think he is. I think he’s one of those Catholics who try to look cool to progressives by trashing the U.S.

        • Josh

          I would reject the above statement outright! Mr Ruse’s column is in fact ANTIthetical to secular progressive thought that decidedly chooses to show our president as the “GOOD LEADER” vs Russia’s “BAD LEADER”. It’s the typical us vs. them scenario. Apparently, you haven’t seen the obvious polarization with the propaganda that the US mainstream press foists on us as “news”. If anything, Mr Ruse is counter-cultural in his viewpoint, as most common sense conservative Catholics I see tend to be.

          • LT Brass Bancroft

            I wasn’t talking about Ruse.

  • Eric

    While we see Russia embracing Christ what makes me worried as a Christian is the paganization of the West. While Russia is heading towards Christ in crooked lines, Anerica and the West are headed away from Chrust in straight line. Sad.

    • DE-173

      Yeah, incursions into the Ukraine are so Christian.

      • Watosh

        Yes and I think it was wrong for us, as Victoria Nuland bragged to spend 5 billion dollars to destabilize the Ukraine, and for her and John the bomber McCain, to encourage the overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Ukraine by appearing among the Kiev rioters and encouraging them to overthrow the elected government and to insert as prime minister someone who was tapped for the job by Victoria Nuland. I wonder what the U.S. would have done had an anti-American mob rioted in Mexico City for the purpose of installing an anti-American president, and a senior member of the Russian State Department and a senior member of the Russian Duma was seen circulating among and encouraging the overthrow of the pro- American president of Mexico.

        Of course it seems like twice daily we are told that the Russian military had invaded the Ukraine, like we were told that Assad forces used poison gas on its rebels and that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Since all the military equipment used by the Ukrainian forces is Russian equipment, of course there will be pictures of Russian military forces that can give rise to the wrong interpretation.

        Odd isn’t it that the subject of who downed the Malaysian jetliner has disappeared from the news when all the newspapers the next day headlined that Putin was the murderer. We haven’t heard anymore about the investigation, we haven’t heard what the black boxes had recorded, the Ukrainian government secret service has taken the recordings made of the conversations between the ground controller and the jetliner and have not been publicly revealed, nor have we any U.S. intelligence from a U.S. satellite showing pictures of the shoot down. (Not pictures from a satellite from a commercial U.S. satellite that has little credibility among intelligence analysts.) The investigators who were to survey the wreckage instead stayed in Kiev, saying the area was too dangerous tho the Ukrainian government claimed they would observe a cease fire zone, but didn’t. Does all this suggest a cover up is going on? Or do coincident theorists believe all these things were merely coincidences?

        Now the Crimea had been an integral part of Russia for longer than the U.S. was an independent country. But we say Russia seized it. Do you know Hawaii was considered an independent country with its own government until some americans dickered how nice it was there and our Naval Brass noticed it would be a great place for a naval base, so we made an “incursion” in force into the Islands and forcibly took it over despite protests by the native inhabitants.

        Of course this does not matter when he is convinced that whatever we do is justified and whatever someone who stands in our way does is unjustified. Not exactly a Christian understanding of Christian morality. We speak of Russian “incursions”, but we never described the numerous forays the U.S.has made over its history sand in recent times into other countries as “incursions.” No e were spreading democracy, like we have spread in Iraq, Libya, Afgahanistan and central America.

        Of course the reason the U.S. Oligarchs are so incensed over the Russian reannexation of Crimea is that under the Black Sea waters around Crimea are believed to contain valuable oil and gas deposits. Just after our stooges were put in owed in the Ukraine, Joe Biden’s son was appointed to the board of the largest Ukrainian ‘Gas company.Of course it might be his association with his father and Obama qualified him to be an expert on gas.

        • Josh

          You are correct on these insights. I will add that Sen. (McShame) McCain is clearly a warmonger and is profiting nicely from his backers who promote war as an economic incentive (lobbies of companies who make weapons and war materiel). Make no mistake on this! Yes, he is indirectly and directly aiding US foreign policy as in Ukraine and Syria and who knows where next! My second point is: While Russia has its own political objectives with Ukraine as does the U.S., Ukraine remains the loser and THAT should be the real story in this! Unfortunately, Ukraine has depended on Russia for the last 10+ years for their energy needs when they had the resources under their own feet. Also, Ukraine is not even close to matching Russia in any respect – and the US gov keeps supporting a no-win situation for the Ukraine government. Do you really think the U.S. supports an economically and energy independent Ukraine? If yes, then why has the political response from the European powers been so muted/tepid? Answer: they DEPEND on Russia for energy! Heaven forbid that they’d explore/drill for oil on their own lands!!!

          • Watosh

            Yes, that is so obvious, Ukraine is the big loser. It economy was poor to start with and all that has happened has made its economy much worse. One wonders why the west doesn’t realize all this has cost the Ukraine plenty. But maybe they do, as they say cui bono? The big financial interests in Europe and the U.S. will be able to readily buy Ukrainian assets at firesale prices now. I have heard talk that big agriculture with its GMO products would be able to get farmland in the Ukraine and raise GMO crops and get them into EU markets via through the back door of the Ukraine. And as I believe I may have mentioned the Russian takeover of the Crimea, long a part of Russia and not considered part of Ukraine in the past, may have aroused such intense opposition from the U.S. and Ukraine is that the territorial waters belonging to Crimea are reputed to contain some large oil and gas reserves. Without the Crimea, the Ukraine loses out on this. a lot of money was made by a few oligarchs in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and communism during the chaotic conditions that prevailed in Russia then. Now why don’t I trust megacorporations and multibillionaires?

            • Josh

              Yes, you would be justified to be distrustful of megacorporations and their goals. With that said, these multibillionaires need to be reached and petitioned to work for The Good as they have much to answer for in regard to their wealth and what it can command. It is not enough for us to curse “the darkness” but call others to The Good – including the rich and powerful! We must pray and do penance for Bloomberg, Soros, Gates, Trump, Buffett, Slim

              and all others that can use their God-given influence to move others in a Good Direction. I beg anyone here, if they know any wealth people, to influence then for The Good!

            • You just repeated the argument made by USMC Maj. Gen. Butler a century ago that “War is a Racket”.

              • Watosh

                After all just another data point that great minds run in the same channels.

                • DE-173

                  So do lunatics.

            • DE-173

              Congressman Paul is that you?

          • LT Brass Bancroft

            Well, for whom did you vote in 2008? If McCain is a warmonger, then what is Putin?

      • Josh

        I think your comment is rather rash. Don’t you know God DOES work in mysterious ways – beyond human comprehension? Even though, we don’t know how the “events” in Ukraine will play out, we (Christians) know that God is working through these “events”. Perhaps, this Ukrainian situation is for the conversion to deep faith in Christ in Ukraine – yes, especially through suffering.

        • DE-173

          Oh geez, now Putin’s territorial ambitions make him an instrument of the Almighty.
          You think my comment is rash, and I think yours is insane.

  • Dick Prudlo

    What makes St. John Paul II Great? Just asking.

    • DE-173

      It’s apparently beyond you.

      • Fred

        I was a little surprised but glad to see our Pope finally ask for a direct frontal response to ISIS. Still, I miss JPII. There have been generations now that have grown up and have no clue about the destruction communism brought the world. I read my kids history books and am amazed at the white washing and marginalization of those who knew it and brought about it’s end.

        • DE-173

          And the flat out lying sacks of excrement apologists. Walter Duranty and Paul Samuelson come to mind.

        • Josh

          Yes, how quickly we have forgotten both the sacrifice, prayers and direct action (e.g. pilgrimages to and strong messages given, esp. in COMMUNIST POLAND) that St Pope John Paul II committed to – to help bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union. From he continues to pray (intercede) and watch the unfolding events in regards to the conversion of yes, Russia, but also the world! Christians everywhere have much to be grateful for – in regards to St. Pope John Paul II!!!

      • Dick Prudlo

        Me thinks it is beyond explanation, then? At the least by you, perhaps.

        • DE-173

          Res Ipsa Loquitar.

        • Juan Pablo

          It’s an incredibly forced title undeserved when compared to other “The Greats” like Leo and Gregory.

          Given that Paul was great in some things and awful in others, it seems a huge cheapening of the title to try to force its adoption.

          History grants that title.

          • Austin Ruse

            We are the makers of history. The title is granted by usage.

            • Erin Fladmo

              God is the ultimate judge of history–yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.

              • Austin Ruse

                Well, yeah.

            • Dick Prudlo

              By that reasoning, anyone with a bully pulpit can make history what it is not?

              • Austin Ruse

                The “Great” title is not granted by the Church. It is granted by general usage, that is, by you and me. Sheesh. Is this so hard?

                • Dick Prudlo

                  Yep, it is. Therefore, by proclaiming this that or some other thing to be “the swell” it is. And, by and by, history isn’t history until all those who lived it are dead. Anything else is just current events, which is biased nonsense.

                  • Austin Ruse

                    Please show us the church document naming Leo as “the Great”.

          • Dick Prudlo

            Thank you Juan.

    • ForChristAlone

      Cor ad cor loquitor. You have to have a heart that is prepared to recognize greatness.

  • Fred

    Great subject to write on Austin, and good job. I haven’t yet developed a full opinion of Putin as I still see him as an enigma. I too am very moved by what appears to be an authentic relationship with Christ and God bless his mother for helping to instill that. I feel fairly certain though his life in the KGB wasn’t spent fulfilling God’s calling, nor his most recent imperial forays. I think at heart though he is highly nationalistic and sees himself in a paternal role deeply caring for the people of Russia – what a novel concept for an elected leader. So while I am troubled by our own embrace of the culture of death, our defiance of the natural laws, and our marginalization of spiritual development, I’m not so sure I’m looking to Putin to be a role model either. I won’t say that my sense of nationalistic pride has waned because of the current JV administration as I still believe in our capacity for exceptionalism, however, my feelings have evolved over time as I’ve come to make Christ the center of my life’s mission, and I am blessed to live in a great country where I can still do that freely today.

    • DE-173

      “Great subject to write on Austin, and good job. I haven’t yet developed a full opinion of Putin”.

      Are you always this slow to grasp reality?

      • Fred

        I get the criticism – if you knew me you’d think it odd coming from me too. I don’t really trust the man, but there is a certain enigma about him. I’m probably under a spell of wishing we had a leader who had a spine – but for the right things. I see too that the KGB ways have never really left him and his imperialistic endeavors waken one to the cold, hard realities.

        • DE-173

          “I’m probably under a spell of wishing we had a leader who had a spine ”
          Be careful what you wish for- a well developed spine often comes without a well-formed conscience.
          If Putin wasn’t the exhibiting signs of an imperialist or a man with a firm lock on power, I’d see the bones he throws as something more than political theater in the old play of “Libido Dominandi”.
          Yesterday was St. Augustine’s feast day (the real one) and hisi dentification of the quest for power as a form of lust should underlie a healthy political skeptiism of every one that ascends to a podium to give a speech.

          • Fred

            Preaching to the choir. Having said that, since we have to have one I’d prefer to have one working for me and not against me. Better yet, one that lived by the law of the constitution and not above it.

  • TerryC

    It is refreshing to see something written that recognizes the actions of a foreign leader is not evil simply because it goes against U.S. interests. As you say that stand does not endorse such actions, but merely recognizes that in a world with competing interests is inevitable taht even good Christians will disagree on political grounds.

    • LT Brass Bancroft

      None of us are bitching about Putin’s ligbut policy. It’s his invading decent countries that I have a problem with.

  • kelso

    Very good and insightful article, Mr. Ruse. Our Lady did say that Russia WILL be converted and that the consecration, as she mandated it, will be done. It has not been done as the Theotokos specified. Sister Lucia never said that it was done — only that “she felt” Our Lady was pleased with the consecration of “the world” to her Immaculate Heart. Then, again, we have this “info” from Bertone, who only revealed a trifle from his three interviews with Sister Lucia. The conversion of Russia is not from atheistic communism (most Russians were neither) but from schism. That will happen. Russia will be consecrated “late” by name as Mary requested.Then there will be a period of peace. We still ought to be working on the conversion of America and leave Russia to our prayers and to the pope. digpig is right about Hilarion. Nevertheless give me Hilarion and Putin before most of our Catholic bishops and our political wimps. The Russian leaders appear to be real men. And real men can be unjust too. There are two sides to the story in Ukraine and I do not know who is right when it comes to parts of eastern Ukraine where there, apparently, are a majority of Russians who want nothing to do with the EU. We have our own oil-imperialist plutocrats pushing “our interests” in the mid-east. $$$$$

    • littleeif

      What is the “other side” of the issue in the Ukraine? How does it differ from Hitler’s view as to Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and then Poland? Chamberlain in the end proved not a prophet but a heretic.

      • DE-173

        “Chamberlain in the end proved not a prophet but a heretic.”

        Would you attribute heresy to a garden variety fool?

        And Churchill, the British Prime Minister with the American mother, through his depression, booze and cigars, saw right through the little corporal.

        Item No. 1 “The Threat of Nazi Germany” in the below link, was delivered November 16, 1934. That’s 1934. You know, before Auschwitz, before Munich, before the Panzers rolled across other nations borders.

        https://archive.org/details/Winston_Churchill

        • littleeif

          Fool, yes! Coward? Milquetoast? True believer? Guess I was shooting for the contrast! Nonetheless it is disgusting. Exactly how does naivete creep back in? Is it even possible? And perhaps that itself is the true evil – that our fears permit us to believe anything that does not involve courage!

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        The “other side” is Fichte’s great principle that frontiers should depend, not on dynasties and treaties, but on language and nationality.

        • littleeif

          Ah Fichte! The founding father of … Oh well. And of course you see the obvious absudity of the proposition. When exactly does a nation become a frontier? The principle only becomes “great” for nations as a rationalization for invasion.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            What is a nation? “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition; and they demand to associate freely, without obstacles, without foreign domination, in order to elaborate and express their idea, to contribute their stone also to the great pyramid of history”(Mazzini)

            • littleeif

              Ah Mazzini! That settles it! The US is not a nation afterall. It is a frontier until the nation of Mexico claims it’s southern half. Canada of course will have to split then half of the old Canada claim the old US northern half. I say claim but of course I mean take you know with tanks and guns. The nation of the Bronx can have a homeland at last ! Thanks Mazzini!

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                As long ago as 24 July 1967, from the balcony of the Montréal Town Hall, a certain French statesman on a state visit summed up the Canadian situation in a memorable phrase – « Vive le Québec! Vive le Québec libre! »

                http://tinyurl.com/pss7d6v

    • Josh

      INDEED! I concur here. Do any of us here really believe that Putin understand every action he himself takes (as far as all the implications -short and long-term)? Who is the Author of History – mere mortals or God Himself? We may cooperate in God’s Plan in help make history happen, but it is The Invisible Hand that guide the course of each event to it’s conclusion. We easily forget this part!

  • John O’Neill

    I remember those days when we prayed for the conversion of Russia after mass. I think it would be good idea if we prayed for the conversion of the Americans after every mass. It is obvious that the leading force in the world for abortion, homosexual marriage, secularization and outright hatred for the Catholic Faith is the American State. Maybe that is why Americans are now being told to hate Putin and Russia by their Propaganda Ministry. As America and its surrogates in Europe become more and more anti Christian, Russia might prove to be the last hope of Christianity in the future.

    • DE-173

      Did we “lead” Spain into electing the Socialists that imposed SSM (2005) before they wrecked their finances?

    • DE-173

      It is obvious that the pioneering force in the world for abortion, homosexual marriage, secularization and outright hatred for the Catholic Faith is Europe, the EU and the UN.

      • Watosh

        Very good observation. Yet so many religiously inclined seem to feel the Ukraine will be better off in the tender embrace of the EU! Well I guess if it hurts Russia that is all that matters.

      • The elephant in the room you missed is the USA alongside the EU and the UN doing the bidding of the enemy of the human nature.

        • DE-173

          Well at least you are now giving credit to the EU for its role.

          • I never favored the EU, except in the minds of those with a nationalistic bent who think that if the US is not favored, some other country is. Let me state this clearly: the nation-state is a couple of centuries old abomination, the total state is a century old scourge. Both are creatures of the prince of this world. Once, both were not and, as a Christian, I pray that they come to an end once and for all.

            • DE-173

              Except that your comment history shows that you principally object to ONE nation state. If nation states are creatures of the prince of this world, then transnational governance is his angels.
              Europe was the pioneer of the nation state and transnational governance.

    • Objectivetruth

      Splinter….beam…..eye……

      And for a European continent that in 20 years will be facing Mecca when they pray (or not praying at all), it’s probably a good idea that we on this side of the pond will be praying for your conversion.

  • Barbaracvm

    Sister Lucie, shortly before her death, was asked had the request to consecrate Russia to the Blessed Mother been done. NO the pope has not consecrated Russia to Mary. The pope and the cardinals must jointly place Russia in the care of Mary.

    • Austin Ruse

      However, by letters of August 29, 1989 and July 3, 1990, she stated that the consecration had been completed; indeed in the 1990 letter in response to a question by Rev. Father Robert J. Fox, she confirmed:

      I come to answer your question, “If the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 in union with all the bishops of the world, accomplished the conditions for the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady in Tuy on June 13 of 1929?” Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made.

      And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them.[35]

  • littleeif

    With due respect and deference to your expertise and experience, having read your article with openness and interest, I just wish to contribute a view from the American Catholic street. I have been exposed recently to variations of the idea among devout Catholics around me that by virtue of Fatima, in view of the wickedness of our current administration and because the press is prostrate and corrupt, we have a virtual religious duty to embrace Russia and things Russian, to embrace albeit in a wary hug Putin and things Putin, to doubt the world view and geopolitics of the west and things American. May I please point out some obvious facts?

    1 – As they say here in Kentucky, you can’t fry an egg that ain’t hatched. And wishin’ don’t make it so. 2 – Religious medals are cheap. You have to bury your parents somewhere. And even Hitler acknowledged that he had to continue the national relationship with Christian faiths although he despised them in order to retain power, free as he was to murder 11 million beings. 3 – Even sincere conversion is no guarantee of personal goodness much less infallibility. 4 – Evil as it is, homosexuality is not the sum of all evils. 5 – “You can’t trust what you read” as an argument is simply an illogical appeal to authority. 6 – A conversion, national or personal, unattended by a little humility, meekness, outreach, kindness or gentleness may not be a conversion at all.

    So pardon me if I am unwilling to jump aboard until someone explains Putin’s KGB past, his brand of censorship and politics, the Russian relationship with Iran, Syria, China, North Korea, the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine and the role Russia seeks to play in the middle east vis a vis Israel and Islam as a whole. Until someone does, I’m still thinking we’ll be scratching our heads when Iran presents its nuclear ultimatum to the west.

    • DE-173

      “I just wish to contribute a view from the American Catholic street. ”

      Be careful, you might be branded a nationalist, a heretic or accused of not having enough countrymen dead in World War II.

    • Austin Ruse

      Would waiting to fry an egg until its hatched mean you are actually frying a chicken?

      • littleeif

        It’s so! Life begins at conception.That said, while there may be an omelet in the pot pie, a pot pie is still not an omelet!

        • Austin Ruse

          There is no omlette in the pot pie. it does not call for eggs!

          • littleeif

            So then the egg, never having been hatched, having been fried with the chicken, never became the wholesome omelet it might have been, and instead was incinerated, battered and obliterated within a starchy pot pie. It was served at a completely different meal. Those waiting for breakfast in the morning were bitterly disappointed in the pile of green peppers and bacon bits they received on their plates. They were not at all placated when the chef explained, ” That’s what an omelet looks like when you have fried the eggs – Before they’ve hatched!!”

            • Austin Ruse

              A fertilized egg, that is, an egg that has the potential to hatch, is no longer an egg. It is a chicken.

              • littleeif

                Yes I concede. We do not even say that in Kentucky. I’m humbled but only a little. I’m sticking by the thought!

                • Austin Ruse

                  Great exchange…

      • LT Brass Bancroft

        Yes, he should have said “laid” instead.

    • Fred

      Maybe we’re not blessing it, but it sure doesn’t seem like we’re working all that hard to make damn sure it doesn’t happen – I mean, other than asking them nicely not to.

  • Aldo Elmnight

    “Before the prayers were suppressed in 1965 ”
    We still pray these in the antiqua forma Mass. Those in the Novus Ordo Mass should pray these as well after the priest recesses. Pray them loudly and kneeling. This will go a long way to suppress the social hour that occurs in most NO parishes when Mass is over.

    • Austin Ruse

      We say the prayer to St. Michael after the Mass at the Opus Dei run Catholic Information Center in Washignton DC and also at our parish in Great Falls, VA.

    • Such prayers are not and have never been part of the mass. The mass ends with the blessing and those prayers are said after it.

  • jim bodmin

    This article is based on a false premise. The Leonine Prayers were never intended to be for the conversion of Russia.

  • Juan Pablo

    How about we stop calling JP2 John Paul “The Great”. When compared to the other “The Greats”, he pales in comparison and has quite a few “not so great’s” attached to his record.

    It debases the addition to a popes title, and is incredibly forced. History grants that honor

    • Guest_august

      Amen, bro.

    • Dan

      Exactly. I mean he kissed a book that denies that Jesus is the Son of God. I mean, JPII could have requested the Muslim cleric standing next to him to kiss the Bible in the spirit of ecumenism.

      • Akira88

        I never got that elevation of the Muslims.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    We were many years in the Orthodox Church (Antiochian Patriarchy). Your article rings the truth about Russia behind the very strained commentary in both the sexcular and Catholic press.

    The Orthodox Church (and, not only the Russian) will be closely observing the upcoming Synod on the Family. Especially the undercurrents swirling in the Tabor from the muddy waters of the LGBTQQI(P?) “community”. Yes, the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried take the spotlight, but, in a way, that is only a Trojan Boat to offload other agendas. The Orthodox will watch Rome’s skill and courage as it navigates these converging currents: see if the Roman Catholic Church has the foresight & fortitude to backwash the muddy waters our.

    Pope Francis – and those who gave-a – know that the Orthodox (and Russians) will be hawk-eying the Synod. Pope Francis (and Benedict behind him) will not spittle mud in their eye. They presence of the Orthodox, hovering over the Synod, may be the drawn sword that slays the Queer Theory Agenda at the gate.

    NOTE: There has been much talk about an Orthodox resolution to the remarriage issue, one that uses Orthodox rules-of-thumb so to speak. Believe me, the Orthodox are wary of our interest, here. The attempt isolates the Orthodox way from the wholeness (as they see it) of Orthodox spirituality. They see the attempt as a typical Western way of cobbling solutions. Instead, they would be asking us, “Why are you so quick at manhandling and changing your traditions.?” They see that as a defect, this urgency to update and change.

    • Akira88

      As far as the married/divorced debacle — it should remain as it is. People may get mad at not being able to receive Our Lord, but they know the rules. If the rules change that makes the waters very murky and compromises Our Lord. Above all else they are supposed to be defenders of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

  • Pat

    Austin Ruse, you ROCK!!! Thank you for this enlightening information that I am happily sharing with others. Praise God.

    • Austin Ruse

      Many thanks…

  • Bhoy

    How can you say Alfeyev is “friendly to Catholics” when he’s blamed the UGCC for the entire Ukrainian crisis?

    • Austin Ruse

      That is a political question, not a religious one.

  • jcbathtub

    Now we need to pray for prevention of world wide communism or communism like dominance which seems to be gaining ground at the same time all over the world.

  • Mr. Ruse and his friends would do well if they were to ask the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church how Russia’s conversion and Putin’s piety look from Ukraine.

    • Austin Ruse

      I have seen statements from them. Yes.

      • Thank you for your reply, Mr. Ruse. Then my question for you is why his assessment had no effect on your nuanced, hopeful piece about Russia’s “conversion” and Putin’s alleged personal piety. I speak as an admirer of Solzhenitsyn and traditional Russian Orthodox piety, not of the current court prophets and chaplains to the tsar.

        +JMJ,
        ~Theo

        • Austin Ruse

          I believe my piece speaks to this issue. I don’t feel competent to get into the specific give and take of the political situation in either Crimea or Ukraine. It is unfortunate because of what is happening to the people there and unfortunate that these situations are getting in the way other very important matters.

        • Austin Ruse

          My column actually deals with these questions…

  • Jane57

    But surely you are not going to say that Pushkin is as great as our exalted Maya Angelou? Are Tolstoy and Dostoevsky as profound as Richard Brautigan? Fat chance!

    • Austin Ruse

      Made me chuckle.

  • Guest_august

    the Latin Church and the Greek (Russian) Church are brothers. We all need to get together and settle our differences as was done in 50 AD in Jerusalem.

    But still clouds are hanging over Europe; dangerous clouds. if only there will be genuine repentance then perhaps these clouds could pass by.
    http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/category/harvest-of-plagues/

  • Austin Ruse

    For more on Our Lady of Kazan and for those curious about the claims of the Blue Army.

    Please know the original is lost. A copy of the age is kept at the Cathedral in St. Petersburg and another at Fatima.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Kazan

  • the truth will set you free

    The reason why Russia is hated by the West is because it will not succumb to their liberal, gay, anti christian agenda. Have you ever wondered why Our Lady of Fatima singled out Russia, and only Russia, as a country destined by God for a great future, perhaps as the most Christian nation in the world?

    • LT Brass Bancroft

      Of course! That’s why Reagan called them an evil empire! That’s why the Poles struggled to break free from their yoke!

      I think Our Lady singled out Russia because she saw the evil they were about to unleash upon the world.

      • Josh

        God can turn Great Evil and turn it into Great Good, including nations, no? He has with many great sinners turned into saints!

        • LT Brass Bancroft

          Yes, he can. But that’s clearly not what happened to Russia after Fatima.

        • DE-173

          So in other words you admit that presently, Putin is a great evil?
          Too bad the U.S. bashers don’t afford the U.S. as much latitude as to assume it might be a better entity in the future.

    • RufusChoate

      You are mistaken. Aside from negative opinions of Homosexuality which is an anomaly from the rest of Europe, Russia is utterly deprave in the materialist culture of the October Revolution. They have had negative population growth since the 1960’s with Abortion being the birth control of first resort.

      The Russian Orthodox church is a state run lap dog without any quality or depth of faith.

      It is a hollow reed.

    • Akira88

      Russian’s history is Catholic.

      And as for the reason – Russia/former (and maybe secretly present) USSR, was/is Communist. Our Lady asked for the consecration so that Russia would not spread her errors throughout the world — which is exactly what happened. Even the Church has been infected with her errors.

      We need to be smart and learn about Communism. It is threaded throughout our society not only in govt but in the schools, Churches, tv programs, newspapers ….
      It’s not only European, but it made the cross over the Pond.

  • Antoinette

    “According to Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima children, Pope St. John Paul the Great accomplished this on March 25, 1984.”
    No, that is not true. First, Our Lady asked for the consecretion of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary together with all the bishops in a public ceremony. http://www.fatima.org/essentials/message/reqconsec.asp. Pope John Paul II did not consecrate Russia, he consecretated the world. Second, he did not do so together with all the bishops in 1984 or at any other time. The consecretion has not occurred. That is why Russia has not converted, and that is why there is no world peace. Third, Sister Lucia never said that the consecretion was accomplished. http://www.fatima.org/essentials/opposed/cvrup3.asp
    Please continue to say the Leonine Prayers, Austin. I do.

    • Akira88

      There seems to be more pointing to the need for a consecration of “Russia” in concert with every single Bishop in the world — per Our Lady’s request.

  • stephen ryan

    Great, great article…A little know fact is the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje said in 1981 that “Russian (not soviet union) will come to glorify God the most, the West has made civilization progress but without God, and act as if they are their own creators”. The Blessed Mother also said Medugorje is the continuation and fulfillment of Fatima. Nobody predicted better the where Russia us today than the Blessed Mother..The Madonna Files

    • Akira88

      Medjugorje is not approved and is private revelation if it is approved.

      Fatima, La Salette, Lourdes …. there’s plenty that has been approved, and unfortunately forgotten, il.e. St. Catherine, St. Margaret Mary …..

      I stopped believing in the authenticity of Medjugorje long ago; Our Lady talks too much.

      • stephen ryan

        Millions of people have strengthened their Catholic faith because of Medjugorje .. Countless conversions . Medjugojre brings people back to confession…Private revelations matter enormously Guadalupe, Fatima , Lourdes. Saint John Paul II beleived in all of them and they mattered enormously to him

        • Akira88

          God can work great good out of evil. The biggest sign that feeds my own doubts — the disobedience, the defrocked Franciscan who married a nun, too many messages. It almost seems like a mockery of Fatima.
          Hey, I could be wrong. It’s just that the folks come back from Medjugorje, pine for .it, and behave in Church as if Our Lord isn’t really present. The miricle happens every day at Mass …. at Adoration. We don’t have to run to Medjugorje because of the “feelings” ….. they are just passing anyway.

  • bonaventure

    Putting Russian politics aside for a second, it looks more likely like Russia will be converting the West, rather than the other way round.

    • Akira88

      Don’t think so. It seems the author was duped.

  • A difficult question, which of course hearkens at least in part back to whether the Consecration validly occurred. This will be an endless debate which the Faithful probably should not worry too much about; let us simply praise good when we see it (e.g. Russia’s new-found defense of life & family from abortion & gay marriage), and denounce evil when we see it (e.g. Russia’s lies, violence, and seeking to conquer Ukraine). The grand scheme of things will become manifest soon enough. Pray, pray, pray.

    • PGMGN

      Being blunt about one’s belief that the fruits indicate that no proper consecration has occurred is not worrying. If anything, if more folks speak bluntly, while maintaining Faith and prayer, it could go a long way to encouraging Church hierarchy to ante up and do what needs doing. A proper unmistakably executed consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

      In many instances, it is the fear or apprehension of the hierarchy worrying over how something will be taken that holds them back. Popes and Cardinals and Bishops are people, too, after all. And need bolstering to do what is right.

    • Akira88

      REally not a one of us can know when or how the consecration will occur. While it’s important, we have to pray as though it still needs to occur.

  • Mystery Babylon

    Russia is obviously not consecrated. The problem is many simple catholics cannot accept that bishops and popes can lie. The People of God need to develop their perpsective. They hold to the simple-minded falsehood: “The Pope is always right!” Russia is obviously not consecrated.

    • Akira88

      I agree with part of what you say. Did the consecration to Russia really happen? It really doesn’t seem like it, but what do I know? Our Lord told us to read the signs – it seems that the “signs” are pointing to something other than a consecration.

      I do get a beak on re:the Bishops, but they are our Shepard’s and are tempted in ways that we’re not. Not excusing them — I wish they’d disban the silly USCCB — and get back to their prospective diocese — we do need to pray for them.

      Pope’s are men chosen by the Holy Spirit for purposes we can never see. They are under even greater temptations. They are infallible, though, when it comes to faith & morals. It what Christ started with Peter.

      It is frustrating though esp. when they seem so commie.

  • Mystery Babylon

    To LT Bancroft: Not yet. Wait untill after the war event and then the consecration.
    Russia indeed has a great future.

  • bdlaacmm

    I understand that Putin had an Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir flown over the Crimea during the recent crisis there. Whatever else he is, Putin apparently does respect the Orthodox Church.

    • DE-173

      So. Do you know if his “respect” is something more than political theater for the gullible?

  • Akira88

    This whole article is incredibly bizarre and reeks of the author’s naivete.

    Have you read anything about Communism? Try Bella Dodd, “The School of Darkness”. The Commies tell you what you want to know.

    Have you spoken in private to the American Ballerina, by the way?

    You consider it “unfortunate” that Russia is more than likely going to attack the Ukraine and that Poland is target in the cross hairs? If Russia had truly been converted, how to explain their actions? It is not what you were told because the actions are incongruous with the words.

    As far as bringing up Yakunin, it seems your intention was to take a cheap shot at Chaney.

    Putin does cut an impressive figure and when compared with the USCCB placed dictator in our White House, (yes, because the USCCB supported the election of this man by their silence — and we all know that they have a Democratic liaison down there in DC), he seems preferable.

    How can you possibly determine that Russia is being converted. Maybe Putin wears a Cross – Hitler was a Baptized Catholic.

    All one has to do is listen to the news for a few minutes, see a resigned repugnant US President, see that Russia is poised on the border of the Ukraine, the beheadings in the Middle East, people leaving the Church, chaos in the Church, the decrease in young people, Ebola, lack of jobs in our own country and people living off the government? There are a plethora of human, spiritual, and natural disasters positioned like tornadoes seeming to be drawn to the same point. Doesn’t sound much like a conversion as much as a magnificent storm.

    Those prayers should continue after Mass; take nothing for granted and be, what is it — wise as serpents and gentle as birds? Doves?

    And …. the Cold War was not WWIII. That may still may be in the plan.

  • Gerjen

    Now it makes more sense why the U.S. is trying to start a war with Russia. The U.S. wants to destroy Russia before she can convert.

  • Sokatoomee

    Austin Ruse is pathetic. Did the Russian Orthodox Church write the propagandist article for him?

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