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Evangelization of Russia

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

We get some idea of the gigantic task awaiting the missionary work in Russia from the opening sentence of the policy statement of the Soviet Union in the heyday of Communism. The government told the people that, "The Soviet school, as an instrument for the Communist education of the rising generation, can, as a matter of principle, take up no other attitude towards religion than one of irreconcilable opposition. Communist education has as its philosophical basis Marxism, and Marxism is irreconcilably hostile to religion."

Seventy years of indoctrination in atheism in all the schools of Russia has deeply affected the thinking of over two hundred million people. Without exception, all the countries under Soviet domination have been profoundly de-Christianized.

When, therefore, we speak of the conversion of Russia we are addressing ourselves to a phenomenon unknown, not only in Christian but in world history. For three generations over a quarter billion people have been indoctrinated with the philosophy of Karl Marx for whom, Christianity is the opium of the people.

Millions of martyrs who died for their faith in Christ are a promise, as it was at the dawn of Christianity, that "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church."

On these terms, the prospects of re-Christianizing a paganized culture are most promising. But there is one problem. Most of the "missionaries" pouring into Russia today are not professed Catholics. They are members of one sect or cult after another, with immense financial support behind them.

The conclusion is obvious. Followers of Christ who are loyal to the vicar of Christ have the most unprecedented opportunity since the days of St. Paul. They have the opportunity to bring the knowledge and love of the Incarnate Lord to multitudes who are starving for the Word who became flesh and dwells among us.

Copyright © 1996 Inter Mirifica

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