Russia and European Catholicism


At the excellent Lux Occulta blog, Shane reports statistics about the resurgence of the Orthodox church in Russia.

These are strange statistics I must say, and they are Russian anyway so you should take them with three pinches of salt. Still, the growing number of Russians abandoning, or being tempted to abandon, a purely secular view of life is a reality not even Russian statistics could entirely conceal.

Shane makes an interesting parallelism, comparing the dismal state of Catholicism in Western Europe with the robust growth of Orthodoxy in Russia.

Personally, I see the difference as follows:

1) There’s nothing so bound to lead one to Christ, as an appetizer of Communism. The Russians had much more than an appetizer, and it is therefore not entirely surprising the local church would profit from this. In contrast, Western Europe allows itself the luxury of criticising Christian values without having had (yet) a full mouthful of what they will have to eat when they have abandoned them.

2) Catholicism is Europe is, in my eyes, still reasonably healthy notwithstanding the continuous work of sabotage of the clergy n the last fifty years. In fact, if one considers the above mentioned work of sabotage, one must conclude the resilience of Catholicism is no less than astonishing. It is a kind of “Catholicism without the priest” (who many do not see anymore as a “catholic” figure, rather like a pathetic old man desperately trying to be liked) which, whilst severely damaged, still maintains many of the traits of the faith of our fathers, at least in their broad outlines.

In the traditionally Catholic parts of Europe, priests have almost completely stopped to defend Catholicism and to instruct the faithful, limiting themselves to vague blabbering about peace and luv instead; But the work of their predecessors was so robust, that a strong cultural sediment still remains, and allows Catholicism to go on, if in seriously damaged conditions.


It goes without saying this cannot go on forever, and it has now become imperative the clergy start making their job again. I trust in traditionally Catholic Europe this will gradually happen in the decades to come, and we will not need to taste Communism, or too much of the Nazi Liberal ideology, before this happens.

As to the other countries, I am less confident. If you take an Italian and an English non-churchgoer, the first thing you notice is the former is so much more Catholic in his outlook, though he will probably not even be conscious of it as he can’t even conceive how un-Catholic the latter is. In the fist case, there is a fertile soil which only waits to be tilled. In the second case, a much harder work will be required.


Posted on March 4, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Im hopeful in Spain but perhaps only because at the Bishop and clergy level the worst is past, the corner is turned and the trend is towards better,( but the worst having been so dim it doesn’t take much.)
    The final recent unanimity of the US bishops is more not what Id call ideal, rather, what ought to be NORMAL. I don’t see anything like that in Europe…POland perhaps.
    I have to constantly remind myself that a priest is 100times worse attacked by the devil, as a bigger prize, than I, a bishop the more so, and the holyfather…GollY!
    But the faithful here are STILL getting more secular, fewer and fewer kids, fewer and fewer of whom are being baptized, generation by generation……..There was a bounce and bolshiness and fight in Spaniards which was still in the air 35 yrs ago, and is generally replaced by scared dull sheeplikenessness with gutless maoning and whinging.
    Without God, you can’t be yourself.

    • Granted, pepe,
      but when the clergy starts doing things in the right way it will be a while before this percolates down to the people (not) in the pews.

      We consider it a great thing that the US bishops are all against the HHS mandate, this really tells it all about how bad the situation is.

      But as you say, I think the worst is now behind us.


  2. Mundabor, you are very kind!

    I agree with all your points. I think Russian clergy are a lot less PC too (since they are experienced with what it leads to) After all could Abp Nichols or Martin ever pass as an Orthodox Bishop?

    • I agree, Shane, and thanks for the flowers 😉

      I also think the Russians as such are – like the Italians – rather allergic to the political correct stuff. This will then unavoidably make the work easier for the local clergy (not trying to justify our bishops, mind…).


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