Daily Archives: February 25, 2013

The Answer is Staring You in the Face

The Christian world outside the Orthodox Church appears to be in turmoil. Two billion people seem to be ever more leaderless in a world that is storm-struck. The overwhelming mood of the moment is that of drift and the drift is towards rapid and total secularisation.

Protestantism seems to be in dissolution, literally dissolving into secularism, as it does not have the spiritual force to resist the secular world. This is because Protestantism gave birth to secularism and so has always carried within itself the seeds of its own destruction. As an anti-sacral reaction to Catholicism, its very anti-sacral nature inevitably gave birth to secularity – the opposite of sacrality. Its half-way house is no house at all when the storm strikes.

Roman Catholicism has been shaken to its foundations by scandals, both financial and moral. It is difficult to know how many of the accusations are true, but if only some are true, the situation is grave. At a time when the world needs strong leadership, the Roman Catholic leadership has been compromised by its own misdeeds. No-one will believe those who do not practise what they preach. The tendency therefore is to reject everything out of hand.

Only your racial and cultural prejudices prevent you from seeing it. We have spent nigh on forty years trying to break those down, to make you see outside yourself. The answer is not in some fake version of Orthodoxy, Eastern-rite Anglicanism; the answer is in the real thing.

A Cardinal Error

‘If marriage is forbidden to priests, they will fall into sins worse than mere fornication, not abhorring the embrace of other men.’

Bishop Ulric of Imola, The Rescript, c. 1060

The resignation in Scotland of Cardinal Keith O’Brien has come a day after claims by three priests and a former priest emerged in the Observer newspaper. These claims date back to the 1980s and concern ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Yet another scandal for Catholicism, coming only days after the revelations in Ireland about tens of thousands of young women, more or less imprisoned as slave labourers in laundries run by nuns.

Last week, the self-same Cardinal called for Roman Catholicism to end its celibacy rule for the priesthood. He told the BBC: ‘I realise that many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy as they lived out their priesthood, and felt the need of a companion, of a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own’.

Nearly thirty years ago now, I remember talking to an Italian Catholic priest about clerical celibacy. As a married Orthodox cleric, I asked him how Catholic priests coped with the imposition of celibacy. He told me in his honest Italian way: ‘It depends. In Germany the priests are overweight – they eat to compensate. In Ireland they drink Guinness. In England, they are uptight and frustrated. And in Italy, well, we just ignore it’.

I have to say that he was one of only two Catholic priests I have ever met (true, I have not met many) who was not homosexual. The other one was Portuguese and he of course was married and had two children. In the north of Portugal this is not only acceptable but normal and parishioners would not even accept ‘celibates’, full well knowing what they really were.

This situation is common in Spain, the south of Italy, Africa and Latin America. Latin and African blood will not take this nonsense. Only a few months ago I was talking to a Polish taxi-driver in Colchester. He was from Krakow, the centre of Polish Catholicism, and he described to me how much of his income there had come from taxiing Polish priests and seminarians to and from local brothels…

It is time to do away with the piece of jesuitical word-play which says: ‘On no, we don’t have compulsory clerical celibacy; priesthood in Catholicism is voluntary’. The fact is that celibacy is compulsory, if you are a Catholic priest. (Unless, of course, you are a Uniat in distant lands, banned from ever coming to Western Europe or North America, or, only very recently, an ex-Anglican).

This nonsense of compulsory clerical celibacy, introduced by force into the West in the late eleventh century, has to stop. It is the source of that ugly distortion, clericalism, and, by reaction, secularist feminism, which thinks it is being deprived by not being admitted to the priesthood. But even worse than all this, it is the source of perversion and hypocrisy.

Such a rejection of perversion and hypocrisy seems unlikely, because it would mean that the Vatican would have to admit that it has persisted in its anti-Apostolic error for nearly a thousand years – as we Orthodox have always known. The real question therefore is – does the Vatican have the humility and spirit of repentance necessary for it to return to the Evangelical Faith of the first millennium?

If it does, then who knows, perhaps it will even return to the Faith of the Apostles, the Fathers and the Seven Universal Councils, even reinstating the Christian Creed. Perhaps then its various branches, Anglican, Protestant etc., might do the same. Humility and repentance are always miraculous. Perversion and hypocrisy never are.

Obstacles to the Restoration of Orthodox Russia

Since the fall of Communism in 1991, work towards the restoration of Orthodox Russia has become the common task of all conscious Russian Orthodox. However, if this restoration is to happen, then three obstacles must be overcome. What are they?

The first obstacle is to overcome the Western fashions which have flooded into Russia since 1991. Consumerism, pornography, homosexuality, drugs and all that had accumulated in the West since the 1960s entered Russia after 1991. Such decadent egoistic fads lead only to primitive Western-style infantilism (for example, Pussy Riot) and the zombification of political correctness, spoilt infants demanding their toys or ‘rights’. Only once this Western individualism has been overcome, can Russia come to the second obstacle.

The second obstacle is full spiritual and so moral renewal. Without such a movement of mass repentance, because that is what these words mean, there can be no return to national roots and values. We speak of the restoration of Orthodoxy which is incarnate in Russia and so in tune with its history. Only such a restoration can create a new consciousness and understanding of national history beyond the deformations and divisions introduced by the Synodal period, the Soviet period and the Western period since 1991.

The third obstacle is political and so economic renewal. In Orthodox Russia, there should be no great divisions caused by excessive wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, as there is today and as there also was before 1917. Just as corruption came into Russia through a Westernised aristocracy, so today it comes through a Westernised oligarchy. There should be no corruption, but social justice and free access to educational and health care systems. Ultimately, this means the restoration of sovereign popular monarchy.

The possibility that Russia may overcome these three obstacles would have international repercussions, as Russia has responsibility both to the Orthodox world and to the world at large. We must wait and see in patience, if this potential is to be realised.

Extremism Breeds Extremism


The recent trial and sentencing for attempted terrorism of three British-born Muslims should cause few surprises. A whole generation of Muslim youths, often of Pakistani origin, has grown up in this country. It has been profoundly disaffected by the profoundly anti-Muslim attitudes and policies of British governments – even to the point of planning or committing murderous terrorist attacks. Obviously, such dangerous individuals have to be imprisoned in order to protect the public, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike. What errors have British governments committed in order to create such disaffection?


The first error is historic, in fact going back many centuries to the Crusades. These were in fact Catholic or Western holy wars – anti-Muslim jihads. The Crusades themselves began a ‘tradition’ of racist attitudes and ignorance towards Islam, highly visible in the British Empire. Given such a historical background, it seems extraordinary that governments should have invited Muslims to come and live in Great Britain. It is almost as if they desired to create friction. After 1945, when British factories needed immigrant labour, governments could have invited immigrants from European backgrounds to come and work here. This surely would have created far less cultural friction.

The above error was compounded by secularism. Secularism had no understanding of religion and the fact that culture is moulded by religion. Therefore it had no understanding of Islam and Muslim culture. It presupposed that Islam would die out, just like British Protestantism has died out. In its supreme contempt for and ignorance of genuine religious belief, secularism promoted so-called ‘tolerance’ – actually indifference – and called it ‘multiculturalism’. Obviously, multiculturalism could never work and the ruins it has created are visible throughout Western Europe. Here, Islam is set to become the main practised religion, replacing the dying Western denominations.


The solution to historic hostile attitudes to Islam is to spread knowledge about Islam and its historic contributions to, for example, technology and medicine. A shift in the teaching of medieval history in British schools would be welcome. Western ethnocentrism has taught generations that the Crusaders, e.g. the cannibal French King of England Richard the ‘Lionheart’, were not the barbarians, but Muslims were! All those who have lived in countries with large Muslim minorities or majorities for centuries, for instance Russia or Syria, have always practised respect towards Islam, not racism. In this way, those peoples have been able to live side by side with Muslim neighbours in peace.

Such respect must be strengthened by realism. Realism means not mythical ‘multiculturalism’, but separation. Wherever Christians and Muslims have lived together in the same country in peace, it is because they have lived in separate areas. They have been good neighbours, but no more than this. Thus, at the time of the Crusades, militant Westerners arrived in countries where local Christians and Muslims had been living side by side in peace for five centuries or more. It was the foreign and alien violence which they brought which destroyed the peace. Similarly, today, it is the new militant Islam, Islamism, which is destroying peace in Egypt, Libya, Syria and a host of other countries.


Most sadly, there is little doubt that more and more British-born Muslims, most frequently the sons of Muslim immigrants, will be attracted to the new Islamic extremism. There are, it is said, some 500 of them among the foreign Islamists fighting at present in Syria. We can only hope that the security services of this country will protect us from the evil which these Islamists scheme, as has now happened. Most sadly, however, this disaffection has been directly caused by the extremism of recent British governments, which have undertaken invasion