Metropolitan Hilarion: On the Child Protection Laws in Russia and Church and State
An Extract from an AsiaNews Interview with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:
September 2, 2013
AN: There is a law in vigor in Russia that prohibits "the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations", a law which has raised a lot of criticism. Do you believe that the country really needs this measure?
MH: I think that this law is not only necessary, but also that such laws should be adopted by other countries, in place of the rules which are launched today in the European Union on homosexual unions, which even give them the right to adopt children. I believe that this policy of Western governments is a suicidal policy, because under the conditions of the demographic crisis and destruction of the institution of the family, giving these privileges to homosexual unions means to signing the death sentence of a State, as well as a people.
AN: In what way?
MH: We are under the influence of secular ideology of consumerism in interpersonal relations, advertising, an educational system designed not to teach children to aspire to high moral values, but to free their basic instincts. Under the influence of all these circumstances, many European countries are going through a severe demographic crisis and the population is in sharp decline. This, from my point of view, it is a sign of deep spiritual sickness. If this disease is not cured, as for all diseases untreated, it will lead to death.
In this sense, I see Russia today as an example. The laws we are introducing, are directed precisely to the preservation of what we call 'the gene pool' of the nation, its 'human potential', so that there are strong families, with many children to inhabit the vastness of the Russian territory.
AN: Many accuse the Patriarchate of being too close to the Kremlin including many faithful. What is the church and state relationship in Russia today?
MH: I do not think many of our faithful are unhappy about our relationship with the State. It's just the newspapers that sometimes write about this. The last time I was in England, the BBC asked in an interview if I thought that relations between our Church with the Kremlin were too close. I replied that in Russia relations between the State and the Church are a lot less close than in Britain, where the head of the Church and the bishops are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Then they asked me, do you think that the same person should not be in power for too long? And I said that we have not yet had somebody is in power for 60 years in a row, like the Queen of England. But in spite of the British democratic traditions, my answers were censored and the interview was broadcast after they had been cut off.
Today the relations between church and state in Russia are based on two principles. The first is the principle of non-interference. The Russian Orthodox Church does not endorse any political party or none in particular. As it participates in society, the Church can make its own evaluation of a political program, or certain specific problems. But the Church does not participate in the management of the State nor politics. So neither does the State participate in the management of the Church, or interfere in the choice of bishops, the Patriarch, or any internal decision.
The second principle is that of collaboration between Church and State in matters of common interest. This are primarily ethical issues, such as population policies, family ethics, the problem of abandoned children and so many other issues on which there is ample space for our cooperation.
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