George Weigel is puzzled over why the Russian Orthodox Church is cautioning against removing the pickled body of Lenin from his tomb on Red Square. Excerpt:
A senior Catholic official deeply involved in ecumenical affairs once said, of Russian Orthodoxy, that “they don’t know how to be anything other than chaplain to the czar—whoever the czar is.” The martyrs of Orthodoxy under communism belie that wholesale dismissal, although the centuries-long entanglement of the Moscow Patriarchate has created very few models for a Russian Orthodox Church capable of speaking truth to power in twenty-first century Russia—a country where authoritarianism of an increasingly brutal sort has quickly followed a brief flirtation with genuine democracy. But surely a minimum of self-respect—and respect for its martyrs—ought to compel the Russian Orthodox Church to lead, not oppose or hinder, any move to demythologize Lenin and put an end to his obscene tomb, home to a mummified mass murderer and maniacal persecutor of the Church of Christ.
That sounds right to me, but I wonder if I have enough information. The Moscow Patriarchate says that it fears “social upheavals” if Lenin’s body is removed. I don’t know what’s going on in Russia. Is it possible that the Church is making a tactical decision here, trying to avoid unrest in a society that’s already under a lot of stress? I could see it being defensible, iun theory at least, under those conditions. The Roman Catholic leadership has taken similar measures in the past, doing what it would rather not for the sake of preserving social peace.
But Weigel believes that the Patriarchate is doing whatever Putin tells them to do. If that is the case, then it’s indefensible, and the Church ought to be ashamed.
Anybody know more about this?