Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion at the Assembly of Christian Inter-confessional Council
Stopping the demographic crisis
is a priority for all Christians
Mass culture today openly opposes Christian values, in so far as it is dependent on a culture of success, consumerism, and unbridled pleasure. It leads society, and especially young people, to egotism and excessive liberty, according to Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, speaking recently at the assembly of the Christian Inter-confessional Council of the Community of Independent States and Baltic Countries, in the Russian capital.
“We must learn to translate our positive message in to the language of contemporary culture,” explained the Orthodox leader, “positive values should no longer be formulated as abstract categories but be inserted in the fabric of the language of art, cinema, music and painting. This way of announcing positive values can not only rehabilitate them but also make them more easily assimilated, giving them a living and existential dimension.”
The Assembly was dedicated to the theme, “A look toward the future, human capital. Ways to stop the demographic crisis.” Participants, according to the web site of the Russian Orthodox Church included the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Paolo Pezzi, and the director for external affairs of the Russian Union of the Evangelical Christians-Baptists, Vitali Vlasenko, who together with Hilarion, is co-president of the Christian Inter-confessional Council.
In his talk, Mons. Pezzi highlighted the importance of the theme, “Today,” he said, “we continue the work already begun, in the hope that this common commitment contributes to the solution of a problem on which, without exaggeration, the material and spiritual prosperity of future generations of our countries and all of humanity depend.”
Metropolitan Hilarion remembered how Russian and European families until the 20th century were large in number, regardless of income or social status. Today, instead, he observed, such families are rare; many have only one or two children. What to do? “First of all, it is important to remind people of moral truths, to create a favorable atmosphere and to create social conditions necessary for extended families,” he said, recalling initiatives taken in some parishes in Moscow. “Social aid should be one of the priorities in our parish and pastoral work,” he said, adding that, “all the healthy forces in our society should rally to prevent the extinction of our population and to reverse the alarming population tendency which has come to prevail in the last decades. For population growth to begin there must be economic and financial incentives, but there must also be the preaching of the word of God.”
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