(Rome) When one of the most Catholic voices in Rome is that of the Moscow Patriarchate, this is a problem. Last Tuesday Hilarion of Volokolamsk Metropolitan addressed the Pope and the Synod of Bishops, a message of greeting from the Moscow Patriarchate. Archbishop Hilarion is head of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church. Here is the full speech of Metropolitan. The highlights come from the editorial:
Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies,
On behalf of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the whole Russian Orthodox Church, I address our fraternal greetings to you all on the occasion of the XIV. General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church, which is dedicated to the theme of the family.
In our turbulent and unsettling world, man needs solid and unshakable foundations on which he can rely in order to fully trust to be able to build their lives on them. The secular society that is geared primarily to the satisfaction of individual desires can give man no clear moral orientations. The crisis of traditional values that we experience in the consumer society leads to a contradiction between the different preferences, even in family relationships. When on the one side, extreme feminism sees in motherhood an obstacle to the self-realization of women who have children, on the other hand, more and more regard children as a right that can be realized by any means. Increasingly, the family is seen as a connection between two people, regardless of their gender, and it is believed that the individual can choose the affiliation to one or the other sex according to his personal taste.
On the other hand, new problems occur that directly affect the foundations of the traditional family. The armed conflicts of the modern world causing a mass exodus from the war-affected regions towards the richer countries. Emigration often leads to breaking of family ties while creating a new social environment, creating connections that often have an interethnic and inter-religious character.
These challenges and threats are, for all Christian churches alike, the need to look for the answers, by relying on the order entrusted to them by Christ, to lead the people to salvation. Unfortunately, we often hear in Christian circles, voices demanding that there be a "Modernization" of the Church's conscience, thus the rejection of the apparently Christian apparently obsolete doctrine on the family. Nevertheless, we must not forget the words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome: "conform not on this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God: what He desires, is what is good and perfect."
The Church is called to be a light and a beacon in the darkness of this world, and Christians are called to be the "salt of the earth" and "light of the world". We all need to remember the harrowing admonition of the Savior: "If the salt loses its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is good for nothing; it is thrown out and trampled by men." (cf.. Mt. 5:13 to 14). Such a salt that has lost the power of its own taste, are in our time what some Protestant communities who call themselves Christian but preach moral ideals that are incompatible with Christianity. When a community of this kind, introduces the rite of blessing homosexual unions, and a lesbian woman who describes herself as a "bishop", who prompts her churches to remove the crosses from the steeples and replace them with Islamic crescents, can such a community may be called "church"? Before our eyes is Christianity is betrayed by those who are willing to play the game of secularized, anti-clerical and Godless society.
The leadership of various countries of Europe and America, despite numerous protests, even by the Catholic faithful, continue a policy aimed deliberately at destroying the understanding of family. Not only are homosexual connections made legally equivalent to marriage. One goes so far as to prosecute those who because of their Christian faith, refuse to register these connections. Immediately after the end of the visit of Pope Francis, the American president Barack Obama has openly declared that the rights of homosexuals are more important than religious freedom. This clearly shows the intention of the secular authority to continue the attack against the healthy forces of society who defend traditional family values. The Catholics are in the front line in this fight, and just against the Catholic Church, there is a veritable campaign of discredit and lies under way. Therefore, the force in defending the Christian conviction and fidelity to the tradition of the Church today are particularly necessary.
Society today comes to resemble more and more the foolish man, "who built his house on sand" (Mt see. 7.26). It is the duty of the Church, to remind society of its established foundation - the family as a union between man and woman, who has the birth and education of children as its goal. Only such a family, established by the Lord at the time of the creation of the world itself, is able to prevent the release of modern society into the abyss of moral relativism, or at least slow it down.
The Orthodox Church, like the Catholic, has always followed the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition in their teaching about the family and established the principle of the sanctity of marriage affirming that based on the words of the Savior Himself (cf.. Matt 19:6 ;. Mk 10:9) In our time, this position must be united and unanimous. We must work together to defend dialogue with the legislative and executive powers of each country and at the level of international institutions such as the UN and the European Union. We can not only limit ourselves to exhortations. We need to ensure the legal protection of the family completely.
The solidarity of the Church and all people of good will is essential for the purpose, to protect the family from the threats of the secular world, and thus to safeguard our future. I hope that the fruit of this Synodal Assembly will be a development of Catholic-Orthodox collaboration in this direction.
I wish you peace, God's blessing and success in your work!
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Il Timone
Image: Il Timone
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org