The Catholic Church has lost the Mystery


This situation with religion in Italy is completely the same as in other European countries - there is complete secularization. Even when more than 80% of Italians claim to be Catholic, this doesn't mean that they are practicing or going to church or respect what the Church is saying.

This process is clear: we are witnessing a great secularization. Another problem is that the Church is trying to go in the "progressive way". For example, we have this idea that we have to respect gay marriage. In Italy, we have a law which allows a form of gay marriage (civil union and cohabitation agreement), which is not a civil marriage. But there was no word by Pope Francis against this.

Therefore, if the Vatican says nothing about gay marriage, then there is definitely something strange about this. How can people rely on the Church when it is not standing for its own basic principles?

There is an interesting thing: here in Bari, we have the Basilica of Saint Nicolas, where a lot of Russian Orthodox pilgrims come. When I look at these pilgrims coming from Russia and their devotion, they remind me of my grandparents. They have a very strong devotion and are very convinced.

Today, we live in a sort of confusing spirituality. And this big problem comes from the priests themselves. They are spending a lot of time on talking about building ugly, modern churches and not paying a lot of attention to the liturgy. Therefore, people cannot find mystery in the Church.

When you enter into an Orthodox church, you feel the mystery. And this is extremely important for a believer. Our lives are so stressed and routine-driven. When you go to church, you want to find something different. But actually, our churches have lost the mystery.

People believe that participating in mass is a sort of social action, that there is no relationship with God. And in this way we are getting closer to the Protestant Church.

The Catholic liturgy is closely related to the Orthodox liturgy. It is important what you see, and all senses must be focused. It's not useful to understand every word or gesture, but much important is that you feel the presence of something you cannot see.

Unfortunately, in our churches, there is no feeling of mystery. And this is the reason for secularization. It started inside the Church, not in society.