Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cardinal Burke's Recent Interview

The Synod on the Family ended two months ago.  We all know how much of a disaster it was, despite the fact that some bishops and cardinals grew some spines and (rather loudly) protested the hijacking of the Synod.  We also know how the Holy Father stood by and did nothing (although recently he claimed that no Synod Father called into question the Church's teachings on marriage--what a joke!).

The one shining star of the Synod, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke recently gave an interview, which I post here.  I'm posting a transcript of the interview with my comments in red, along with the video itself.

"Q. Your Eminence, you grew up before the Second Vatican Council. How do you remember those times?
 
A. I grew up in a very beautiful time in the Church, in which we were carefully instructed in the faith, both at home and in the Catholic school, especially with the Baltimore Catechism. I remember the great beauty of the Sacred Liturgy, even in our little farming town, with beautiful Masses. And then, I'm of course most grateful for my parents who gave me a very sound up-bringing in how to live as a Catholic. So they were beautiful years.

Q. A friend of mine who was born after the Council used to say, "Not everything was good in the old days, but everything was better." What do you think about this?

A. Well, we have to live in whatever time the Lord gives us. Certainly, I have very good memories of growing up in the 1950's and early 1960's. I think what is most important is that we appreciate the organic nature of our Catholic Faith and appreciate the Tradition to which we belong and by which the Faith has come to us. (Since Vatican II many, perhaps even most Catholics are either ignorant of or wish to forget the "Tradition to which we belong.")

Q. Did you embrace the big changes after the Council with enthusiasm?

A. What happened soon after the Council - I was in the minor seminary at that time, and we followed what was happening at the Council - but the experience after the Council was so strong and even in some cases violent, that I have to say that, even as a young man, I began to question some things - whether this was really what was intended by the Council - because I saw many beautiful things that were in the Church suddenly no longer present and even considered no longer beautiful. (This reminds me of the question:  How can what was sacred and beautiful in the past be suddenly no longer so?) I think, for instance, of the great tradition of Gregorian Chant or the use of Latin in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Then also, of course, the so-called 'Spirit of Vatican II' influenced other areas - for instance, the moral life, the teaching of the Faith - and then we saw so many priest abandoning their priestly ministry, so many religious sisters abandoning religious life. (Yet we are still told by many that Vatican II was the best thing to ever happen to the Church.  If that's true, then why have so many lost their faith?) So, there were definitely aspects about the post-conciliar period that raised questions.

Q. You were ordained a priest in 1975. Did you think that something in the Church had gone wrong?

A. Yes, I believe so. In some way, we lost a strong sense of the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy and, therefore, of the priestly office and ministry in the Church. I have to say, I was so strongly raised in the Faith, and had such a strong understanding of vocation, that I never could refuse to do what Our Lord was asking. But I saw that there was something that had definitely gone wrong. I witnessed, for instance, as a young priest the emptiness of the catachesis. The catechetical texts were so poor. Then I witnessed the liturgical experimentations - some of which I just don't even want to remember - the loss of the devotional life, the attendance at Sunday Mass began to steadily decrease: all of those were signs to me that something had gone wrong. (Yet the old grey-heads in the Church still pat themselves on the back for all the good work they have done in the spirit of Vatican II.)
 
Q. Would you have imagined in 1975 that, one day, you would offer Mass in the rite that was abandoned for the sake of renewal?

A. No, I would not have imagined it. Although, I also have to say that I find it very normal, because it was such a beautiful rite, and that the Church recovered it seems to me to be a very healthy sign. But, at the time, I must say that the liturgical reform in particular was very radical and, as I said before, even violent, and so the thought of a restoration didn't seem possible, really. But, thanks be to God, it happened. (And thanks to Benedict XVI!)

Q. Juridically, the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass are the same rite. Is this also your factual experience when you celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the new or the old rite?

A. Yes, I understand that they are the same rite, and I believe that, when the so-called New Rite or the Ordinary Form is celebrated with great care and with a strong sense that the Holy Liturgy is the action of God, one can see more clearly the unity of the two forms of the same rite. On the other hand, I do hope that - with time - some of the elements which unwisely were removed from the rite of the Mass, which has now become the Ordinary Form, could be restored, because the difference between the two forms is very stark. (Much was unwisely removed.  Notice how he says that the difference between the two forms is "very stark.")
 
Q. In what sense?

A. The rich articulation of the Extraordinary Form, all of which is always pointing to the theocentric nature of the liturgy, is practically diminished to the lowest possible degree in the Ordinary Form. (I have often experienced this myself.  Even in the most reverently of celebrated Novus Ordo Masses one still gets the sense that we are there to see/hear the priest or to gather together for a community gathering.  Not so with the TLM--there it's all about God.  I have also heard many priests say that they have found the TLM to be a truly humbling experience and that everything about the Mass turns their thoughts to God).

Q. The Synod on the Family has been a shock and sometimes even a scandal, especially for young Catholic families who are the future of the Church. Do they have reasons to worry?

A. Yes, they do. (No beating around the bush there.  This is why I respect His Eminence so much--he doesn't patronize the faithful but tells them the truth.) I think that the report that was given at the mid-point of the session of the Synod, which just ended October 18th, is perhaps one of the most shocking public documents of the Church that I could imagine. (!!) And, so, it is a cause for very serious alarm and it's especially important that good Catholic families who are living the beauty of the Sacrament of Matrimony rededicate themselves to a sound married life and that also they use whatever occasions they have to give witness to the beauty of the truth about marriage which they are experiencing daily in their married life.

Q. High-ranking prelates keep giving the impression that "progress" in the Church lays in promoting the gay agenda and divorce ideology. Do they believe that these things will lead to a new springtime in the Church?

A. I don't know how they could believe such a thing, because, how could it be that, for instance, divorce - which the Pastoral Constitution on the Church Gaudium et Spes called a plague in society - how could it be that the promotion of homosexual acts, which are intrinsically evil, how could any good come from either? (Perhaps because some of the biggest advocates of Vatican II and its spirit ignore everything that the Council taught.) And, in fact, what we witness is that both result in a destruction of society, a breakdown of the family, the breakdown of the fiber of society, and, of course, in the case of unnatural acts, the corruption of human sexuality which is essentially ordered to marriage and to the procreation of children.

Q. Do you think that the main problem in vast territories of the Church is the lack of Catholic families and especially the lack of Catholic children? Should that not have been the focus of the Synod?

A. I believe so, very much so. The Church depends on sound Catholic family life, and it depends on sound Catholic families . I do believe that, where the Church is suffering most, there also marriage and family life is suffering. We see that when in marriage couples are not generous in bringing new human life into the world, their own marriages diminish, as well as society itself. We witness in many countries that the local population, which in many cases would be Christian, is disappearing because the birthrate is so low. And some of these places - for instance, where there is also a strong presence of individuals who belong to Islam - we find that the Muslim life is taking over in countries which were formerly Christian.

Q. In many parts of Western Europe and the U.S., the only parishes who still have children belong to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, while whole dioceses are deserted. Do the bishops take notice of this?

A. I would imagine so. (Oh I think they take notice, but usually just to the detriment of Traditionalists.) I do not have direct experience of what you are describing. From my own time as bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin and as archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri, I have heard this said about dioceses in certain European nations where the dioceses are practically unable to continue, yet there is a strong presence of those who belong to the Society of St. Pius X. I cannot help but think that the bishops in those places must take note of it and must reflect upon it.

Q. Most practicing Catholics in an average parish in Western Europe and the U.S. are those who were baptized and catechized before the Council. Is the Church in these countries living from her past?

A. I think that my generation, for instance, was blessed to grow up at a time in which there was a strong practice of the Catholic Faith, a strong tradition of participation in Sunday Mass and the Sacred Liturgy, a strong devotional life, a strong teaching of the Faith- But in some way, I believe, we sadly took it for granted, and the same attention was not given to pass on the Faith as we had come to know it to the success of generations. Now what I see it that many young people are hungering and thirsting - and this already for some time - to know the Catholic Faith at its roots and to experience many aspects of the richness of the tradition of the Faith. So I believe that there is a recovery precisely of what had been for a period of time lost or not cared for in a proper manner. I think that now there is a rebirth at work among the young Catholics.

Q. Does the Synod on the Family have any plans to promote marriage and to encourage and support families with many children?

A. I sincerely hope so. I'm not part of the central direction or the group of cardinals and bishops who assist in the organization and direction of the Synod of Bishops. But I would certainly hope so.

Q. Many Catholics fear that, in the end, the Synod of Bishops will resort to doublespeak. "Pastoral" reasons are used to de facto change doctrine. Are such fears justified?

A. Yes, they are. In fact, one of the most insidious arguments used at the Synod to promote practices which are contrary to the doctrine of the Faith is the argument that, "We are not touching the doctrine; we believe in marriage as the Church has always believed in it; but we are only making changes in discipline." But in the Catholic Church, this can never be, because in the Catholic Church, her discipline is always directly related to her teaching. In other words: the discipline is at the service of the truth of the Faith, of life in general in the Catholic Church. And so, you cannot say that you are changing a discipline not having some effect on the doctrine which it protects or safeguards or promotes. 

Q. The term "mercy" is used to change Church doctrine and even the New Testament in order to condone sin. Was this dishonest use of the term "mercy" exposed during the Synod?

A. Yes, it was. There were Synod Fathers who spoke about a false sense of mercy which would not take into account the reality of sin. I remember one Synod Father said, "Does sin no longer exist? Do we no longer recognize it?" (I don't think a lot of bishops and priests believe in sin anymore, unless we're talking about the "sin" of homophobia and judgementalism.) So, I believe that was very strongly addressed by certain Synod Fathers. The German Protestant - Lutheran - pastor who died during the Second World War, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, used an interesting analogy. He talked about "costly" grace and "cheap" grace. Well, there is no "cheap" grace. When God's life is given to us as it is in the Church, it demands of us a new way of life, a daily conversion to Christ, and we know God's mercy to the degree that we embrace that conversion and strive to  turn every day our lives over again to Christ and to overcome our sinfulness and our weaknesses.

Q. Why is the term "mercy" used for adulterers, but not for pedophiles? In other words: Does the media decide when the Church is allowed to apply "mercy" and when not? (Because it would be politically incorrect to do so, and many bishops simply want to do what the world calls them to do.)

A. This, too, is a point that was made during the Synod. Mercy has to do with the person who, for whatever reason, is committing sin. One must always call forth in that person the good - in other words, call that person to be who or she really is: a child of God. But at the same time, one must recognize the sins, whether they be adultery or pedophilia or theft or murder - whatever it may be - as a great evils, as mortal sins and therefore as repellent to us. We can't accept them. The greatest charity, the greatest mercy that we can show to the sinner is to recognize the evil of the acts which he or she is committing and to call that person to the truth.

Q. Do we still have to believe that the Bible is the supreme authority in the Church and cannot be manipulated - not even by bishops or the Pope?

A. Absolutely! (!!!!) The word of Christ is the truth to which we are all called to be obedient and, first and foremost, to which the Holy Father is called to be obedient. Sometime during the Synod, there was reference made to the fullness of the power of the Holy Father, which we call in Latin plenitudo potestatis, giving the sense that the Holy Father could even, for instance, dissolve a valid marriage that had been consummated. And that's not true. The "fullness of power" is not absolute power. It's the "fullness of power" to do what Christ commands of us in obedience to Him. So we all follow Our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with the Holy Father.

Q. An archbishop recently said, "We obviously follow the Church's doctrine on the family." Then he added, "...until the Pope decides otherwise." Does the Pope have the power to change doctrine?

A. No. This is impossible. (This is an example of papal idolatry, where the people see the Pope as God Himself and thus able to change doctrine.  The Pope can do no such thing.  We are called to listen, respect and obey the Pope in matters of doctrine, but even he cannot change the truths our Lord passed on to His Church.) We know what the teaching of the Church has been consistently. It was, for instance, expressed by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Casti connubii. It was expressed by Pope Paul VI in Humanae vitae. It was expressed in a wonderful way by Pope St. John Paul II in Familiaris consortio. That teaching is unchanging. The Holy Father gives the service of upholding that teaching and presenting it with a newness and a freshness, but not changing it.

Q. Cardinals are said to wear crimson in order to represent the blood of the martyrs who died for Christ. Except for John Fisher, who was made a cardinal when he already was in jail, no cardinal has ever died for the Faith. What is the reason for this?

A. I don't know, I can't explain it. Certainly some cardinals have suffered greatly for the Faith. We think of Cardinal Mindszenty (1892-1975), for example, in Hungary, or we think of Cardinal Stepinac (1898-1960) in what was Yugoslavia. And we think of other cardinals of different periods in the history of the Church who had to suffer greatly to uphold the Faith. Martyrdom can take more than the bloody form. We talk about red martyrdom, but there is also a white martyrdom which involves faithfully teaching the truth of the Faith and upholding it, and perhaps being sent into exile as some cardinals have been, or suffering in other ways. But the important thing for the cardinal is to defend the Faith usque ad effusionem sanguinis - even to the outpouring of blood. So, the cardinal has to do everything he can to defend the Faith, even if it means the shedding of blood. But also all that goes before that. (I doubt many cardinals, or even bishops and priests nowadays would be willing to die for the Faith.  I have no doubt, however, that Cardinal Burke would--he is that kind of man.)

Q. Your Eminence, a few quick observations: Who is four favorite Saint?

A. Well, the Blessed Mother obviously is the favorite of us all.

Q. That doesn't count!

A. [Laughs] I also have a great devotion to St.Joseph. But one Saint who has really helped me a great deal during my life, since the time I was a child and in the seminary, is St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. Her Little Way continues to be, for me, very helpful in my spiritual life.

Q. What is your favorite prayer?

A. The rosary.  (That must account for the pictures I've seen of him in Rome holding a rosary while walking between appointments.)

Q. What is your favorite book?

A. I suppose the Catechism doesn't count. [Laughs]

Q. No, neither does the Bible.

A. I like also very much the writings of Blessed Columba Marmio (1858-1923), spiritual writings, and I'm also fond of the writings of Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979).

Q. What was your greatest moment as a priest?

A. I think my ordination to the priesthood itself. I keep thinking back to that and everything was there, everything has unfolded from there. What I found most beautiful on the priesthood was that, in the first five years of my priesthood, I hade a very intense priestly service in a parish with the Sacrament of Confession, with many confessions, and the celebration - obviously - of the Holy Mass, and then the teaching of the children in the Faith. Those memories - and then, for a brief period of three years, I taught in a Catholic high school - those are really, for me, treasured memories of my priesthood.

Q. Do you fear the Last Judgment?

A. Of course I do. One thinks, for instance, of all the responsibility that was mine, first as a priest, but even more so as a bishop and a cardinal, and it causes one to examine his conscience. I know there are things that I did that I could have done much better, and that causes me to be afraid. But I hope that the Lord will have mercy on me and I pray for that.  (Ask yourself this:  How many clerics fear the Last Judgment?  Or are they so full of themselves, or so assured of universal salvation that they "know" they will go to Heaven?)

Q. Thank you, Your Eminence.

A. You're welcome."
 
I can't say it enough:  Raymond Cardinal Burke is a remarkable and holy man.  Thanks be to God that we have him around to be what often seems like the only voice of reason within the high levels of the Church.  Would that he were our pope instead of Jorge Bergoglio.  Maybe next time!
 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Synod Catastrophe

Catholic faithful--and other followers of Vatican happenings--will be well aware of the mad happenings coming out of the current Synod on the Family.  I won't go into depth with details, but suffice it to say that a devious minority of those in attendance are advocating a change in Catholic doctrine regarding the indissolubility of marriage, reception of the Holy Eucharist by those in obstinate moral sin, and homosexual acts.  They have said again and again that they want no change in doctrine, just how the Church approaches these subjects.  Don't believe their lies!  This devious minority--guided by their own pride and the machinations of Satan himself--want what cannot happen:  a change in Catholic doctrine.  These few cardinals and bishops must be stopped.  We, the faithful, must pray unceasingly that the Holy Ghost will guide the cardinals, bishops, and especially the Holy Father to stand up for truth, justice, and traditional Catholic doctrine.  Which brings me to my next thought:  the Holy Father.

Where is His Holiness during this debacle?  Why has he not spoken out against this work of Satan?  Faithful (and I mean truly faithful) Catholics are fearful and confused by the proceedings of the Synod.  We feel lost, directionless.  Where is the Supreme Pontiff?  Instead of direction from the Vicar of Christ on Earth, we have Raymond Cardinal Burke standing up for the truth.  Now I have been a fan of Cardinal Burke for years, even before he was raised to the cardinalate.  Indeed I have no greater respect and admiration for any cleric in the Church than I do for His Eminence, but why is the Church and the world getting more spiritual direction and comfort from a cardinal than we are from the Pope himself?  His Eminence himself has stated in an interview that it's long overdue for some serious leadership from His Holiness on these issues.  Let's hope Pope Francis wakes up and starts fulfilling the job he was elected to do:  lead one billion Catholics in the ways of the Truth, representing the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity on Earth.  So far--in my estimation--the Holy Father has failed in his sacred duty.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Our Christian Brethren in Iraq

Watch our displaced brethren in Iraq describe their fates under the Muslim-led ISIL. More than once someone points out that this would not be happening if America had not invaded Iraq. I cannot help but remember how I supported the Iraq War over ten years ago. I've known it for a long time now, but how wrong I was.

Now's the time for some real leadership from US President Obama and Pope Francis.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pope Francis' Tips for Happiness

The Holy Father recently gave yet another interview in which he stated his top ten secrets for happiness (see the English article here).  I've posted an excerpt below with my comments in red:

"1. "Live and let live." Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and let others do the same." (Shall we let others live in sin without so much as a warning about their eternal salvation?)
2. "Be giving of yourself to others." People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid." (So all those saints who retreated into the desert to praise God alone were putrid water?  One can be giving of oneself and still be withdrawn.)

3. "Proceed calmly" in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist -- gaucho Don Segundo Sombra -- looks back on how he lived his life.

"He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool" of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water -- to have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."

4. "A healthy sense of leisure." The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said. (I agree with him here.)

"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.

Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it "complicated, but you must do it," he said.

Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime "doesn't let you communicate" with each other, the pope said.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because "Sunday is for family," he said. (What happened to setting aside Sunday for the praise of the Almighty God of the Universe?)

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs" and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said. (I'm not sure one causes the other, but yes there is some truth to the old adage "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop.")

"It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'" (I do tend to be somewhat liberal when it comes to environmental issues, but I think the bigger question is "Isn't humanity committing suicide through widespread use of contraception and abortion?")

8. Stop being negative. "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy." (Hmm, I don't think one has to talk badly about others to be a negative Nancy, but okay.)

9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said. (Wow...all I can say is...wow.  He's the Supreme Pontiff, right?  The holder of the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth, right?  The Vicar of Christ, right?   Wow.)

10. Work for peace. "We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic. (I would add pray for peace to this one.)"

I find it horribly disturbing that the Holy Father lists a top ten secrets to happiness and not once mentions God.  How can man be happy without God?  St. Augustine said Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te--Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.  It seems that His Holiness forgot this quote. 

What the Holy Father has given us is a bunch of touchy-feely drivel rather than theological eloquence or sound moral guidance, yet again showing how much of an embarrassment his pontificate has become.  I fear a highschooler could have done better.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

World War I - 100 Years Ago


On July 28, 1914 Austrian troops invaded Serbia in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The war would last four years, leaving millions dead and the face of the earth changed both politically and culturally.  The Russian Empire ceased to exist.  The German Empire ceased to exist.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist.  America asserted her power in a punitive manner, crippling the German economy and humiliating the German people.  Would that the great monarchies of 1914 had the foresight to predict what a terrible effect the war would have on the political landscape of the world, not to mention the loss of lives.  Perhaps one day we shall see the great empires resurrected like the phoenix from its own ashes.  One hundred years without these great monarchies is far too long.  One day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Woe to He Who Harms the Lord's Anointed

 

Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP (28) was murdered yesterday during an apparent burglary at his parish rectory.  Fr. Joseph Terra, FSSP (56) was critically injured during that same burglary.  It has been reported that Fr. Terra was able to give Fr. Walker Extreme Unction and the Apostolic pardon before he died.

Requiescat in Pace Fr. Walker.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Archbishop Sample Pontifical Mass Homily

His Excellency Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon recently celebrated a Pontifical High Mass at the Brigittine Monastery in Amity, Oregon. Below is his homily from that Mass. I especially liked his comment at about 1:40: "Not in the life of the Church past, but even in the life of the Church today...." I think the Holy Father could do well to listen to His Excellency's homily.



Monday, February 17, 2014

The Immemorial Mass: "Just a fashion"?

Rorate Caeli reports that the Holy Father recently stated that he cannot understand why young people turn to the Traditional Latin Mass and that he sees the TLM as  "...a kind of fashion. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion."  When I first read this statement I thought to myself:  "Once again this man scares the hell out of me.  What condescension!  What arrogance towards his own people!  Is it just a matter of time before he rescinds Summorum Pontificum?"  Once I had settled down a bit I thought that maybe his lack of attention towards us traditionalists is a good thing.  If he ignores us, maybe he'll just leave us alone to worship as we choose.  That way Summorum Pontificum will remain untouched and the law of the Church.  Fr. Z says not to necessarily believe this recent report as this information is third hand, but if the Holy Father really said these things he ignores stalwart, faithful Catholics at his own peril while ministering to nominal, lukewarm Catholics.  Fr. Z also said that he wouldn't be surprised if the Holy Father abdicates when he turns 80, and even expects that he will do so.  While I think this would cause disruption and a continued bad precedent if he does so, it would mean only three more years of him as pope.  That thought doesn't sadden me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Vladimir Putin


Vladimir Putin has been in the news a lot recently mostly due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi., but he has garnered a lot of attention the last year or so on his own merits.  He's been called a dictator, a tyrant, and Satan just to name a few.  He's also been referred to as a Tsar by his detractors.  Which leads me to my point:  Would that he declared himself Tsar!  Now some monarchists would be up in arms at this statement, claiming that only the Romanov successors have the legitimate right to the Russian throne, but I am a much more pragmatic monarchist.  If currently non-reigning royal families are unwilling or unable to re-instate dead monarchies, I have no problem with non-royals who might have the political will, popularity, and pure power to declare themselves as legitimate royals by right of conquest.  Is it possible that Putin will declare himself Tsar?  Napoleon did it.  Is it likely?  Only time will tell.