Michael O’Brien: No. I was overwhelmed by the realization that we in the West have a very limited understanding of the dynamics of what is happening in the former Soviet Union. That applies especially to the spiritual aspect of the emerging society in the Russian federation.
Could you elaborate?
O’Brien: I had gone there with a certain Western concept of post-Soviet society: a society in crisis, organized crime rising, political instability, starving people. These are definitely elements of the situation, but what most Western analysts discount is the element of grace, the fact that Russia is consecrated to the Mother of God. Russia belongs to Our Lady and she is an instrument of grace for the rebirth of the Church there. I realized that the rebirth of the faith of Catholics and Russian Orthodox is complex and cannot be reduced to simple theorems, to political and economic factors. It is a spiritual war zone, one which confuses our normal categories of analysis.