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"Conversion of Russia" Update:

Alexei II Lashes Out at Catholic Church — Again

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On June 27, 2002 CWNews reported that Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II (formerly Alexy Ridiger of the KGB) is at it again, accusing the Vatican of engaging “in a ‘propagandistic cover-up’ of efforts to undermine the Orthodox faith in Russia.”

First of all, what Orthodox faith? By all accounts, some 95-98% of those Russians denominated Orthodox are not practicing their religion, and that includes virtually all young Russians. The Russian Orthodox Church is a bankrupt institution, living off the spoils of Stalinist plunder of the Catholic Church, whose parishes and cathedrals Alexei and his fellow Russian Orthodox continue to occupy more than 50 years after Stalin robbed them from the one true Church.

CWN notes that Alexei’s remarks appeared in an interview in the (Kremlin-controlled) daily Izvestia. In the interview Alexei “renewed his attack on the Holy See for creating four new Catholic dioceses on Russian territory earlier this year. He complained that ‘the Catholic dioceses were organized in Russia without any preliminary consultations and negotiations with the Russian Orthodox Church.’ That move, he said, was ‘unceremonious’ and ‘unfriendly’, and a setback for ecumenical unity.”

Ah, yes, ecumenical unity: the ecclesial equivalent of the Communists’ “peaceful coexistence”. That is, the Catholic Church will make no effort to seek the return of the Orthodox to Rome, while the Orthodox Church will continue to occupy stolen Catholic property. This is “unity” redefined in Communist fashion.

In the same interview, Alexei “repeated the conditions that he has set for closer ties with Rome. He said that the Vatican must resolve tensions between Orthodox churches and Eastern-rite Catholic churches, particularly in Ukraine. And he insisted that the Vatican must refrain from ‘proselytism’ in areas that are the ‘canonical territory’ of the Orthodox faith — such as Russia.” But, as reported more than once in this column, the Vatican has repeatedly disavowed any intention of seeking converts among the Orthodox — any intention, that is, of seeking the conversion of Russia. If a nominally Orthodox Russian converts to Catholicism here and there, it is not because of any overt evangelism by the Catholic Church. No, that has been ruled out by the Vatican apparatus which binds the Church to the twin failures of ecumenism and Ostpolitik.

And now, after 40 years of the Vatican’s dogged pursuit of these failed policies, Alexei declares in Izvestia that there will be no “summit meeting” with the Pope until “his [Alexei’s] conditions for ecumenical progress were addressed.” But what more does Alexei want? He retains all the property stolen from the Catholic Church by Stalin, while the Vatican apparatus publicly assures him that it will not allow the Church to actively seek converts in Russia.

Even more insulting and outrageous, if that were possible, is the claim of this former KGB agent that the current limited activity of the Catholic Church in Russia reminds him of “the Vatican’s attempts to start a dialogue with the Bolshevik government at the peak of the most violent persecutions of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

What!? As CWN observes, “the Russian Orthodox hierarchy worked closely with the Soviet regime, and particularly with the KGB intelligence agency, during the years before the fall of Communism. Even today many Russian believers remain suspicious of their bishops because of the taint of KGB involvement.” In other words, the Russian Orthodox Church was made into an instrument of Soviet oppression, yet Alexei Ridiger, who now goes by the name Alexei II, portrays it as a victim of the Catholic Church, not Stalin.

That this man is now the highest prelate of the Russian Orthodox Church tells us all we need to know about the alleged “conversion of Russia” since the “consecration” of 1984. Yet the Western dupes of Fatima revisionism are still perpetrating the Big Lie. Alexei II could not have a better ally than they.