On Mothering Sunday we pray for Mother Russia sending her Russian children to kill her Ukranian children, and controlled by the Godfathers, President Putin and Patriarch Kirill. This is the latest horrifying example in our world’s history of the poisoned alliances between religion and politics. True believers live faith, not religion.
Faith reflects God’s love but religion a lust for power and control. Every adult amongst us knows of the terrifying links that religious and ruling powers make in order to control the lives of the people in unquestioning ignorance and fear. Faith asks sincerely of God: help me to love all my human brothers and sisters.
Carrie Frost is a professor of theology at St Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary and a mother of five. She writes beautifully about her people and the countries of Eastern Europe, especially Poland, who have been so good to those escaping the violence.
“As an Orthodox Christian, I try to remember where I store my treasure. When I am at my best my ultimate allegiance is only to my creator. This identity as a beloved child of God is my primary identity. My tribe is the human tribe, created in the image and likeness of God. The fratricide in Ukraine reminds us how far short of this ideal many Christians still fall. If we truly understood ourselves and one another as formed in the image and likeness of God, war would not be possible”.
“Amid all the uncertainty one can at least insist on our shared identity as created and loved. I mourn for Ukraine and I mourn for the Russian people who are being groomed by their government to value their national identity above all else, and to turn a blind eye to horrors perpetrated in the name of Mother Russia”.
“My heart breaks for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters. We are watching the persecution of one Christian people by another, a desecration of the belief shared by Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Christians that all human beings are to be understood and treated as beloved children of God”.
“Moved by sympathy with Ukraine and outrage at Russia’s aggression, many now find themselves saying, ‘Today we are all Ukrainians.’ But it should be enough to say I am a Christian – in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither Russian nor Ukrainian. ‘Let us hope for peaceful times for the whole world’ (from the Orthodox liturgy) and work to overcome the kind of pride that starts wars and keeps them from ending.” (The full article by Carrie Frost is in the American magazine Commonweal.)
Again, on Mothering Sunday, you may not be able to take any more of the wickedness of the Catholic Church which is reflected in cardinals, bishops and priests and their abuse and exploitation of so many. But if you do . . . “Sex slaves of the Catholic Church” is the title of a documentary available on YouTube, telling the story from Italy and France, then Africa and India, of the abuse of nuns. I cannot give you details in a parish newsletter but I warn you they are horrifying.
Fr Ludovic Lado, Sister Rita – a Congolese nun – and Sister Maura O’Donoghue, Aids Co-ordinator for CAFOD, have filed reports for the Vatican and been ignored. In 2001 the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Rome to take action on the matter. The Vatican had lobbied to try to prevent the passing of that resolution.
Prof. Hans Zollner, a leading figure on safeguarding in Rome, tells us Pope Francis is well aware of the problem but was reluctant to meet two of the nuns during the filming of the documentary, stipulating no cameras and no-one else present. The nuns refused to meet him because they believed to do so would “contribute to the silence of the Church.”
Our Church is imploding and that is heart-breaking. Revelations of sexual abuse of children, women, men, religious sisters over a long time are being uncovered. We long to share our faith in a loving God but the world must wonder why it should listen to the voice of such a Church when the cries of the abused is what they hear. What can we do? The Synod is an opportunity to bring healing and love to the wounded Mystical Body of Christ. It is frightening to know what has been happening, but only by knowing can we be inspired to do something.
God bless us in our love
(27th March 2022)