George Weigel

To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II

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When Ideology and Blasphemy Meet

In May 1993, the “World Russian People’s Council,” a “meeting place” for those “concerned about the present and future of Russia,” was created at the instigation of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk (now Patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church). Kirill is now the presiding officer of the Council, which met on March 27 in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, built to replace an earlier church dynamited in 1931 on orders of the Soviet Politburo. The March 27 Council meeting did its own dynamiting, however. In this instance, the truth was destroyed. So was any claim that Kirill is committed to Christian orthodoxy.

In a document entitled “The Present and Future of the Russian World” (a notion already condemned as heretical by hundreds of Orthodox theologians), the Kirill-led Council described the war in Ukraine in these Orwellian terms, which combined lies—of a magnitude that might have made Nazi mouthpiece Joseph Goebbels blush—with heresy.

The special military operation [SVO] in Ukraine is a new stage in the national liberation struggle of the Russian people against the criminal Kyiv regime and the collective West behind it, waged on the lands of Southwestern Russia since 2014. During the SVO, the Russian people, with arms in hand, defend their lives, freedom, statehood, civilizational, religious, national, and cultural identity, as well as their right to live on their own land within a single Russian state. From a spiritual and moral point of view, a special military operation is a Holy War, in which Russia and its people, defending the single spiritual space of Holy Rus’, fulfill the mission of “Holding”, protecting the world from the onslaught of globalism and the victory of the West, which has fallen into Satanism.

The lies and heresies then bled into a colossal falsification of history and a genocidal policy prescription built around the ideology of the “Russian World,” of which Patriarch Kirill has been a principal propagandist.

The highest meaning of the existence of Russia and the Russian world it created—their spiritual mission—is to be the global “Holder,” protecting the world from evil. . . . the reunification of the Russian people should become one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy. Russia should return to the doctrine of the trinity of the Russian people, which has existed for more than three centuries, according to which the Russian people consist of Great Russians, Little Russians, and Belarusians, who are branches (sub-divisions) of one people. The concept “Russian” covers all the eastern Slavs—the descendants of the historical Rus’. 

Forgive me the analogy to the 1930s that some find strained or obnoxious, but this is madness on the scale of Mein Kampf. Such madness must be taken seriously, however. Just as a failed artist and political agitator, scribbling his ravings in Landsberg Prison in 1924, was in deadly earnest about his ideological pretensions and geopolitical aims (which led in due course to the Second World War in Europe and the Holocaust of European Jewry), those responsible for “The Present and Future of the Russian World” are in deadly earnest about the future they seek, however crack-brained that future may seem and however wicked their alleged justifications for pursuing it.  

To ignore what the World Russian People’s Council has just proclaimed is dangerous folly. These people—and Czar Putin, to whom they give nauseating “spiritual” cover—are serious. Those who seem incapable of grasping that, from Tucker Carlson to Sen. J. D. Vance to the nine House Republicans who voted against a bipartisan resolution deploring Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children, are threats to both world peace and American national security. 

In light of this most recent statement of Russian genocidal purpose, calls for “peace” negotiations in Ukraine serve no purpose except to foul the global information space further. If Vatican leaders want to contribute to resolving the crises of the new world disorder for which Czar Putin and Patriarch Kirill are responsible, the Holy See should put its efforts into rallying international Christian leaders to condemn the heretical claim that Russia is engaged in a “holy war”; to condemn the genocidal claim that Ukraine is simply “Little Russia” and not a nation with its own cultural and political identity; and to denounce the blasphemous claim that the “Russian World” has a unique, messianic mission in the twenty-first century. 

Willingness to take bold leadership in such an effort to defend Christian orthodoxy against its expropriation by child kidnappers and war criminals should also be a criterion in assessing candidates for the papacy of the future.

George Weigel’s column “The Catholic Difference” is syndicated by the Denver Catholic, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Denver.

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