Two recent videos on the topic of Russia and Ukraine. One at Pints with Aquinas between Matt Fradd and Fr Jason Charron. The second at Gospel Simplicity between Austin Suggs and Fr John Strickland.
From Pints with Aquinas: Responding to Archbishop Viganò & What's Going on in Ukraine w/ Fr Jason Charron
Fr Charron has ties to Ukraine, and Fradd just visited there in the wake of the war.
I made it through about ten minutes of this two-hour plus video. It was a lot of ranting, all sympathetic to the Ukrainian story. Also, while not commenting on any of the details in the Vigano letter, certain that it wasn’t authored by Vigano. Also, just because the media has lied to us about covid and everything else, doesn’t mean we should not believe them this time.
I am sure I am oversimplifying or overstating. And perhaps things calmed down after the first ten minutes. But reading the comments, a good portion had similar reactions. My comment:
Ten minutes in. This rant is too much.
If you intend to discuss issues involving international relations, get someone unemotional about and knowledgeable on the topic - preferably someone who can rationally present a view other than the CNN-style "Russia bad, everyone else good."
And this was the real mess of the video. Was it a discussion of empathy, or was it an examination of international relations? All of the emotion of people connected to one side of the situation – I get it. But then at the same time acting as if they can rationally address the complexity of the situation, the points in Vigano’s letter, etc.
Continuing my comment:
In the meantime, one can feel tremendous sorrow for the people of Ukraine at this time. Too bad the same wasn't felt for the thousands killed by Ukrainian shelling in the Donbass over the last eight years.
And if you are going to have an international relations discussion on the topic, at least bring to the fore the actual statements by Putin, Lavrov, even Vigano, and address these one by one.
Now to Gospel Simplicity: Orthodox Priest and Russian Historian Explains the Historical Background to the War in Ukraine. The priest is Fr Strickland, and regular readers know that I am in the middle of reviewing his third in an anticipated four-part series on the history of Christendom – East and West. What I have found regarding Fr Strickland through his writing is that he is able to remain reasonably dispassionate about a topic for which it is easy to fall hard on one side or the other – he is, after all, an Orthodox priest.
This was a very helpful discussion, primarily focused on the history of the region, to include a focus on the history of the Christian faith and Orthodoxy. Right at the beginning, both Suggs and Fr Strickland pointed out the sympathy they held for the people affected. They knew they were discussing what is an emotionally charged subject for many people – and understandably emotionally charged.
They remained calm throughout, despite Fr Strickland having deep ties to Russia – he lived in St. Petersburg for a time and met his wife there. My comment at this site:
This is an excellent discussion. An exposition of the history, and a focus on what the Church must do. Of course, as should be expected, anyone who doesn't wholeheartedly bash Russia will be attacked...and we see this in the comments.
I am reviewing the books in Fr. Strickland's four-part history of Christendom and have also corresponded with him privately. I appreciate his demeanor and approach. It is an example for others to follow, including many commenting at this site.
Further, the approach taken by Suggs on a topic that is extremely charged, was exemplary.
Fr. Strickland is an Orthodox priest; Fr Charron, Catholic. Although they each have strong ties to the countries involved – one Russia, the other Ukraine – it was only Fr Strickland that remained calm while discussing the issues.
Austin Suggs is a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I believe he graduates this year, so he can’t be but 22 or 23 years old. He is not yet married, although engaged.
Matt Fradd is married, several children. I have no idea how old he is, but he must have at least a couple of decades on Suggs.
I found that it was only the younger of the two who was able to have a mature and Christ-like conversation on this emotionally-charged topic.