Thursday, August 02, 2012

Pussy Riot


What does the Church do in the face of sacrilege?
In Moscow the Orthodox Church is pressing for the maximum penalty, as much as 7 years imprisonment, in the case of Pussy Riot who demonstrated against Putin with a blasphemous "prayer".
Before the arrest, I suspect even in Russia no-one had heard of them, if the Church authorities had not pressed charges it is likely they would have been a headline on Moscow news for one night and then been forgotten. As it is, even I have heard of them, and some of the media seem to want to present them as new dissidents, modern Solzhenitsyns or Sakharovs.
As with crucifixes in glasses of urine, the "art" is really in creating a reaction, the object or performance is incidental, what is being sought is outrage: no outrage, no art.
Apart from pressure from the Kremlin, the Moscow Patriarchate seems as bound up with the Putin Presidency as it was with the Tsar, there seems to be sense that simply ignoring the outrage to believers will show a moral weakness on the part of the Church that will set at at nought the hard won legal recognition the Church has sought since the fall of the USSR. Of course for many Russian believers the Pussy Riot is redolent of the atheistic contempt for the sacred of the communist era, not responding to it vigorously will merely encourage more of it. 

15 comments:

parepidemos said...

Whilst I completely agree with their feelings regarding Mr Putin and his cohort, doing what they did in the Cathedral of Christ our Saviour was shocking and may well bring them a 7 year sentence, as you indicate.

From my limited understanding of Russian, part of the performance was a repeated invocation to the Theotokos, reguesting that she "drive Putin out" as one would drive out a demon. Also, they appear to refer to the Patriarch of Moscow (a strong ally of Putin) as a 'suka', a 5 letter word which begins with b in English. Not a wise move.

Whilst I abhor how they behaved in the cathedral, the women are brave in opposing Putin; some opponents have been known to die under suspicious circumstances.

nickbris said...

Mr Cameron,if he has been suitably briefed by Senator Isakson may mention it to Mr Putin but the best thing he could do would be to keep his trap shut about everything but sport.

We do not understand the Russian sense of humour and it is more than likely that after that diabolical opening ceremony they will not understand ours

Fr Levi said...

What I find interesting is how much sympathy their actions have garnered in the West, from figures like Jarvis Cocker, who call their actions 'legitimate protest.' If their protest had included racism or homophobia instead of sacrilege and blasphemy they would be decried as hate-criminals instead of being defended as heroes. This double standard highlights the hypocrisy of liberal secularism.

johnf said...

I've got no sympathy for them.

I'm fed up of exhibitionists who want to make a point by trying to trash things that we hold sacred.

No prizes for guessing what the response might have been if they had made a similar demonstration in a Mosque. They would be lucky to escape with their lives.

Jacobi said...

The first thing the Church must do, since sacrilege has been deliberately, objectively speaking, committed, is to excommunicate until such time as they repent. I take it this is so of the Orthodox as well as of the Catholic Church.

The second, is that since offence and scandal has been deliberately caused to the public, i.e., the faithful, is to involve the police.

What then happens is up to Russian law.

Gigi said...

Yes, even I've heard of them; and I still don't really know what Garage music is.
I agree with Fr Levi's comments. Whilst I appreciate the women are brave to take on a dictator and a notoriously heavy handed state police. the reported "lyrics" were offensive and violently aggressive and the staging couldn't have been more blasphemous: apparently the altar area of the cathedral rigorously reserved for the clergy.. Yet their only defence appears to be that they didn't intend to cause offence. I fear for them, but it comes back to the old adage that you cannot take your liberty at someone else's expense. Without the "political prisoner" tag, they would simply be seen as haters and criminals.

gemoftheocean said...

Freedom isn't license to do what you want where you want when you want. A person may have free speech rights, but I don't have to tolerate them setting up a soapbox in my living room.

If they had only taken their cue from the rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof: 'Father, is there a blessing for Putin?' Priest: 'A blessing for Putin? Of course. May God bless and keep Putin....far away from us.'

Physiocrat said...

If St Mary Magdalen's was taken over by, say, a group from, say, Pride, in similar circumstances, how would you want the demonstrators to be dealt with?

Supertradmum said...

Smacks of wicca, sorry and that is a woman's point of view. I do not think this has anything to do with real Christian religion

Supertradmum said...

PS may I add that the nuns or sisters were very brave and that anyone who demonstrates in a face-mask is a coward..

Father, does the Church have to be re-blessed, re-sanctified?

lizard said...

I completely agree that the scandal and the growing popularity of these poor girls are created and supported by totally foolish response on the part of the church and the state. I do not even know who is more foolish and who really makes more damage to the Church, Pussy Riot or the powers. Christians must do first what will (or is more likely to) restore the soul of the sinner, to do penance for and along with the sinner etc. So serious criminal prosecution will only make the Pussy Riot to get bogged in their sin. They are now praised and extolled and get further and further stuck in their delusion and pride, alluring hundreds and thousands with them (including members of the Church). This continued criminal prosecution has already made a huge damage to the Russian Church. There is no benefit for the Church, the faith and the sinners. The only benefiting party is the enemies of Christ. No prudence at all (Should bishops and the Patriarch be careful and prudent?).

Their actions are not serious sacrilege. They did not ridicule or scoff at any Sacraments or the Church itself or ridicule Our Lord. They did not touch the Most Holy. They did not even enter the Altar. It was just foolish hooliganism of young dunce ignorama. A 100% politically inspired "performance." I think they did not intend any sacrilege and were unable to foresee all this.

Furthermore, the continuing imprisonment is merely illegal, there is no law which can be invoked here. They are charged with disorder. There is no criminal punishment for "disorder" unless it involves public danger (e.g. weapons, perhaps transport etc.). A group of experts assigned by the investigator found no grounds for criminal persecution. But they withhold this and seem to assign new experts in a hope that the new ones will find at least something.

I think it would be best to just penalise them under administrative law to something like mandatory work (heh.., wash the church building??) for a few days. And assign a mild and wise priest or a monk (if there are any left there) to oversee the girls, incline them to do penance and teach them at least something about the faith.

Jessica Hoff said...

It is hard to believe that they did not know how much offence they would cause, or that they could not have predicted the result. They have shown not the slightest sign of repentance. Russian law will now take its course. These are Russian citizens in Russia. They committed an act they knew would outrage people; they must, alas, take the consequences.

KimHatton said...

I must say that I find Lizard's response the most Christian and reasonable here.

JMO (Michael) Vyse said...

Lizard and parepidemos talk the most sense here.

Agent Provocateur said...

Well, first of all, Putin is no dictator, he is a great statesman. People in the West shouldn't believe propaganda they read in their corrupt media. Second, the girls sang blasphemies (which I will not repeat it here). This is no political act, but the attack on the Church and faithful. Finally, the Catholic Church should publicly support the Orthodox Church. Such simple act of brotherly love would make a bigger difference than thousand inter-faith ecumenical meetings.