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Gorbachev a Christian? Of course not.

by Christopher A. Ferrara

During his recent visit to the tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi, rumors were flying that Gorbachev was a closet Christian whose faith was finally coming out into the open. He had, reportedly, knelt for half an hour in silence before the tomb. Perhaps, therefore, he was even a closet Catholic, said the rumor-mongers.

I never believed it for a moment. And, sure enough, Gorbachev, addressing the rumors, gave this statement to the Russian news agency Interfax: “Over the last few days some have been disseminating fantasies – I can’t use any other word – about my secret Catholicism, citing my visit to the Sacro Convento friary, where the remains of St. Francis of Assisi lie…. To sum up and avoid any misunderstandings, let me say that I have been and remain an atheist.” (Christian Post Reporter, March 24, 2008).

What about the visit to the tomb? As Christian Post Reporter comments, “media agencies had jumped to conclusions when Gorbachev visited St. Francis’ tomb last Wednesday and was seen kneeling for half an hour in silence at the tomb. But Gorbachev, who was baptized Russian Orthodox as a child, explained that his visit to the tomb was as a tourist and not a pilgrim. He acknowledged the important role religion plays in society… ‘But all these years, it has never occurred to anyone to list me among followers of any faith on that basis.’”

As Christian Post notes, even the Russian Orthodox patriarch, Alexii II, dismissed the rumors: “In Italy, he spoke in emotional terms, rather than in terms of faith.”

The Christian Post story concludes by pointing out that “Christians make up only about 17 to 22 percent of Russia’s population, according to the CIA World Factbook.” And of that small minority in an abortion-ridden nation, how many actually practice anything resembling an orthodox Christian faith in which the sanctity of life and the sacrament of marriage are respected?

Twenty-four years after the consecration-that-wasn’t, those who insist that Russia was consecrated in a 1984 ceremony that avoided any mention of Russia are still without a scintilla of evidence to support their position. The “conversion” of Russia is just as much a fantasy as the “conversion” of Gorbachev. In fact, weren’t the promoters of the “conversion of Russia” fantasy proclaiming, not so long ago, the supposed closet Christianity of Vladimir Putin? Remember that ludicrous claim?

Today, Catholics with any sense look with dread upon Putin’s Russia, as the new dictator of “that poor nation” executes his master plan to reassemble to the “former Soviet Union” by means of dictators installed in “popular elections.” May Our Lady of Fatima deliver us from the darkening world of fantasy in which the Fatima revisionists have left the Church stranded.