Monday, 9 February 2015

The Orthodoxy of Priorities

A few interesting statistics from today's Romania show that:
  • infant mortality is 10.16% per 1000 live births, the worst in the EU;
  • the proportion of GDP allocated for education is less than half of the EU average;
  • poverty rate is highest in the EU (21.1% at 60% median income);
  • population is decreasing at a rate of 0.27% per year, with vast outflow of young people who leave the country.
  • more than 75% of all churches built in the EU were built in Romania, despite the fact that its population is ~4% of that of the EU; with few exceptions, these are all Romanian Orthodox churches;
  • since 1990, on average, one new church appeared every 2 days, but 3 schools were closed per day, the number of hospital beds has halved.
  • the total wealth of the Romanian Orthodox Church is calculated at 3 billion EUR, but it receives from the state more than 100 million EUR for the Church employees' salaries;
  • above does not take into account the tax-free "gifts" and "help" that the Government has directed towards this Church.
Clearly, there are priorities... even in times of deep recession, the same priorities existed. 

Reasons are aplenty. Exactly as they did during the Ceausescu regime, the Romanian Orthodox Church has been the key propaganda instrument. Even during the most recent presidential elections, this Church actively involved itself, down to the level of direct and clear instructions sent to all its priests, in propaganda and campaigning for the prime minister Ponta's votes... who wished to become president, so that he could undo all the anti-corruption work the judiciary achieved so far...

Such services come at a price... and even now, while the country is in doldrums, the Government allocates vast funds (just most recently, 1.4 million EUR from emergency reserve funds!) to this Church.

The fact that it still is a country stuck in the Medieval Dark Ages is just part of the problem... 

Looking forward, the incessant and frankly ludicrous state funding of this otherwise extremely wealthy outfit is ensuring that the status quo is preserved.

Whilst it, as a country, holds top position in EU statistics for the worst possible reasons, immense funds and continuous "gifts" ensure that Romania stays in that top position.

The only more tragic fact is that the Orthodox Church actually dares to comment that the number of school and hospital closures are due to the decrease in the country's birth rate and its population... Let's not even go for a minute into the key reasons why the country's population is decreasing (it is enough to look at emigration statistics in the last 25 years...).

Perhaps via this superb statistical connection, they could also explain the ever-increasing funds flowing into their accounts from the state... which, by the way, is oh-so-separate from Church... clearly. 

The Romanian Orthodox Church has explained the scandalous figures in different ways, too: they said that they are running "the hospitals of the soul" and that Romania is a "nation of faithfuls"...

No comment. None is possible.

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