The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
The Cub, P H, Hardrada, DMP, Kyrie Eleison
5601 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
3 registered members (The Cub, MalpanaGiwargis, theophan), 71 guests, and 416 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Russian Greek Catholic Global Congress
OL EuroEast II (2007) Group
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics34,726
Posts411,829
Members5,601
Most Online2,716
Jun 7th, 2012
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia #407138
07/26/14 12:52 PM
07/26/14 12:52 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 44
Washington
2
2lungsambassador Offline OP
Member
2lungsambassador  Offline OP
Member
2

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 44
Washington
George Weigel has a piece ("Russia Is Sick") at National Review Online contrasting the experiences of Poland and Russia in healing the sickness of Communism. He mentions Fr. Aleksandr Men as one who could have played a role doing that in Russia. He asserts that the Russian Orthodox Church has not stepped up to help Russia deal with its recent past in a healthy way. I think he's right--what do others think? Regarding Fr. Men: while I have struggled with his writing, his courageous life I find hugely inspirational.

Last edited by 2lungsambassador; 07/26/14 12:53 PM. Reason: Trouble w/link
Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: 2lungsambassador] #407195
07/28/14 03:24 PM
07/28/14 03:24 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 328
New York, NY
JBenedict Offline
Member
JBenedict  Offline
Member

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 328
New York, NY
"Russia is Sick" by George Weigel

Link to article referred to above. (Not an endorsement, haven't even read it yet.)

Last edited by JBenedict; 07/28/14 03:24 PM. Reason: typo
Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: 2lungsambassador] #407204
07/28/14 05:02 PM
07/28/14 05:02 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline
Member
Orthodox Catholic  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Very good point on how a similar process to denazification in Germany did not take place in Russia with respect to the Soviet ideology.

The author is more than correct that the Soviet imperial perspective has come back with a vengeance in Russia. The difference, however, is that today's Kremlin is by far more interested in Eurasian domination via the all-powerful gas industry.

Alex

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: 2lungsambassador] #407270
08/01/14 05:08 AM
08/01/14 05:08 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 78
Houston, TX
C
Cavaradossi Offline
Member
Cavaradossi  Offline
Member
C

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 78
Houston, TX
Whatever Fr. Men could have done for Russia, I doubt it would have pleased Weigel very much, as I do not believe that Fr. Men would have converted Russia into the outlandishly bellicose, capitalist (or perhaps exploitationist), democratic Utopia which occupies Weigel's fantasies.

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Cavaradossi] #407281
08/01/14 11:26 AM
08/01/14 11:26 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline
Member
Orthodox Catholic  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Dear Cavadarossi,

And communist systems of government differ in which ways from capitalist societies?

Communism doesn't exploit, create super-rich classes of people etc.?

Please! I had more than enough of this during my university years where political correctness (and the fear of failing one's courses) dictated that one ought to heap praise on Marxist-inspired social fallacies.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 08/01/14 11:27 AM.
Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #407285
08/01/14 02:38 PM
08/01/14 02:38 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,283
Texas
Athanasius The L Offline
AthanasiusTheLesser
Athanasius The L  Offline
AthanasiusTheLesser
Member

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,283
Texas
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Cavadarossi,

And communist systems of government differ in which ways from capitalist societies?

Communism doesn't exploit, create super-rich classes of people etc.?

Please! I had more than enough of this during my university years where political correctness (and the fear of failing one's courses) dictated that one ought to heap praise on Marxist-inspired social fallacies.

Alex

I see no endorsement of communism in his post.

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: 2lungsambassador] #407286
08/01/14 03:21 PM
08/01/14 03:21 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 294
East of the West
M
Mark R Offline
Member
Mark R  Offline
Member
M

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 294
East of the West
Yes, I know Communism is evil, but I never really warmed to Weigel. I read his bio. of St. John Paul II and was not surprised that he was quite negative when covering the pope's contribution to documents which did not square with neocon prejudices.
I lived in Poland for nearly two years, at the end of martial law and a bit afterwards. The difference between Poland and Russia, for the purposes of this article, is that the Catholic Church in Poland is really big, the Orthodox Church in Russia was and is quite small. You can have as many Russian versions of Ks. Tichner, but it wont help if the Church is small -- and we have the Bolsheviks to blame for that. Besides that, the Communism practiced in the USSR was much more constraining than in Poland. We know there were great social initiatives taken by the sainted Tsar and his sister in law, but Orthodoxy had not developed a big social mission as had Catholicism in the West (which was a positive response to the stalemate of the wars of religion). For the West this is a blessing and a curse since big social missions can be co-opted by the political culture into serving merely political ends.
De-nazification could be quickly achieved in Germany because Germany was already at heart a part of the Western system. America and the allied powers were very generous -- they actually had Something to offer the vanquished...unlike today. All the West now has to offer is "Democracy. Whiskey. Sexy."
I know Russia is acting unjustly toward Ukraine, but the West now never lets a crisis go to waste and will stretch the truth and fabricate as it did re. Iraq and possibly create a situation in which the cure is worse than the disease (they didn't listen to Pope Benedict then, why would they?)
Yes, Russia may have selective memory, or perhaps like the Bourbons remember everything and learn nothing. I think we in the West, however, learn little and retain little yet somehow think we can tell other people what to do. We are not much better.
"Trust not in princes, etc. etc."

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: 2lungsambassador] #407292
08/01/14 07:28 PM
08/01/14 07:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 44
Washington
2
2lungsambassador Offline OP
Member
2lungsambassador  Offline OP
Member
2

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 44
Washington
I share some of Mark R's misgivings about Weigel. While I think Weigel's bio of John Paul II is magisterial, there are troubling elements in it and its companion, "The End and the Beginning." Weigel seems enamored of neoconservatism and free marketism, a cheerleader for President Reagan, and deliberately obtuse about the nuances in the Pope's paradigm of economics, responsibility, and human freedom. I also get the feeling he is very pro-Ukraine and strongly anti-Russian. That said, I still think he's right about Russia's failures in the past 25 years.

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #407294
08/01/14 08:47 PM
08/01/14 08:47 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 78
Houston, TX
C
Cavaradossi Offline
Member
Cavaradossi  Offline
Member
C

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 78
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Cavadarossi,

And communist systems of government differ in which ways from capitalist societies?

Communism doesn't exploit, create super-rich classes of people etc.?

Please! I had more than enough of this during my university years where political correctness (and the fear of failing one's courses) dictated that one ought to heap praise on Marxist-inspired social fallacies.

Alex


One of the great joys of knowing a little about the history of the Enlightenment is that I don't have to buy into the false dichotomies people have been making for the past three hundred years. It is certainly never an exclusive choice between capitalism or communism, and it is certainly never an exclusive choice between tyranny and democracy. For the will of the majority can often be tyranny upon the minority, and the subjects of a just monarch might in fact be considerably freer than those living in slavery to an unjust and immoral majority opinion.

If Russia has so happened to fail to live up to Weigel's standards, then he only has his own sick neocon ideology to blame. Maybe every country simply isn't destined to be a little America, and being like (Weigel's preferred neocon subset of) America isn't a moral virtue or a good in itself.

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Cavaradossi] #407295
08/01/14 10:29 PM
08/01/14 10:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,283
Texas
Athanasius The L Offline
AthanasiusTheLesser
Athanasius The L  Offline
AthanasiusTheLesser
Member

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,283
Texas
Originally Posted by Cavaradossi
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Cavadarossi,

And communist systems of government differ in which ways from capitalist societies?

Communism doesn't exploit, create super-rich classes of people etc.?

Please! I had more than enough of this during my university years where political correctness (and the fear of failing one's courses) dictated that one ought to heap praise on Marxist-inspired social fallacies.

Alex


One of the great joys of knowing a little about the history of the Enlightenment is that I don't have to buy into the false dichotomies people have been making for the past three hundred years. It is certainly never an exclusive choice between capitalism or communism, and it is certainly never an exclusive choice between tyranny and democracy. For the will of the majority can often be tyranny upon the minority, and the subjects of a just monarch might in fact be considerably freer than those living in slavery to an unjust and immoral majority opinion.

If Russia has so happened to fail to live up to Weigel's standards, then he only has his own sick neocon ideology to blame. Maybe every country simply isn't destined to be a little America, and being like (Weigel's preferred neocon subset of) America isn't a moral virtue or a good in itself.

Excellent post.

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Cavaradossi] #407296
08/01/14 10:49 PM
08/01/14 10:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,833
SF Bay Area, CA
Apotheoun Offline
Member
Apotheoun  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,833
SF Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted by Cavaradossi
Whatever Fr. Men could have done for Russia, I doubt it would have pleased Weigel very much, as I do not believe that Fr. Men would have converted Russia into the outlandishly bellicose, capitalist (or perhaps exploitationist), democratic Utopia which occupies Weigel's fantasies.

This is a great post!

Re: Weigel on Fr. Men and Russia [Re: Cavaradossi] #407332
08/04/14 10:37 PM
08/04/14 10:37 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline
Member
Orthodox Catholic  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Originally Posted by Cavaradossi
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Cavadarossi,

And communist systems of government differ in which ways from capitalist societies?

Communism doesn't exploit, create super-rich classes of people etc.?

Please! I had more than enough of this during my university years where political correctness (and the fear of failing one's courses) dictated that one ought to heap praise on Marxist-inspired social fallacies.

Alex


One of the great joys of knowing a little about the history of the Enlightenment is that I don't have to buy into the false dichotomies people have been making for the past three hundred years. It is certainly never an exclusive choice between capitalism or communism, and it is certainly never an exclusive choice between tyranny and democracy. For the will of the majority can often be tyranny upon the minority, and the subjects of a just monarch might in fact be considerably freer than those living in slavery to an unjust and immoral majority opinion.

If Russia has so happened to fail to live up to Weigel's standards, then he only has his own sick neocon ideology to blame. Maybe every country simply isn't destined to be a little America, and being like (Weigel's preferred neocon subset of) America isn't a moral virtue or a good in itself.



The only choice Christians have, even and especially in the socio-political realm, is the standards and mandate of Christ Himself. No political system can replace Him and His Gospel. (As for the dichotomies you mention, I don't see them as such, but only as ideal-types of ideologies that don't exist in the real world, but only as ways and means to justify very this-worldly goals and ambitions).

The danger is when we idealize any socio-political system - and one can be more wrong than another.

The Russian system is one which has never gotten over the Soviet era and seeks now to recover it, albeit with a strong dose of religion, imperial nationalism and social-conservative autocracy.

That is not the Orthodox Russia of Tsarist times. It is simply a manipulation of elements of it to effect social control where the Orthodox Church has, once again, become a department of the government.

As for the U.S., you are more than correct in all you say, but I would disagree that Christians are somehow powerless under a particular regime's ideology.

Christians in the West are indifferent and that is what enslaves them.

The philosophical prose in which you couch your terms is beautiful.

But it was the same prose as this that I heard from professors in six years of graduate school who tried to convince me how bankrupt the West was (and which you, Athanasius and Apotheoun appear to agree with) and how progressive the other system was.

It is not that I accept one system and juxtapose it against the other.

I don't accept either. Christ is the "political system" of the Christian who is called to exercise the prophetic ministry within each society.

Let us beware and fight against majority opinion (if it is indeed the opinion of the majority - I suspect it is more the legally enforced rantings of a vocal minority). In any case, Christians are the majority - silent and indifferent.

Let us equally beware the government that wears God on its sleeve and proclaims itself as the defender of the Church which it uses as a tool for its own quite secular purposes.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 08/04/14 10:48 PM.

The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2019 (Forum 1998-2019). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1
(Release build 20190129)
PHP: 7.1.32 Page Time: 0.023s Queries: 14 (0.005s) Memory: 2.5977 MB (Peak: 2.6910 MB) Data Comp: Zlib Server Time: 2019-09-18 17:45:44 UTC