Orthodox Church Threatens the Catholic Minority in Romania
Using the "majority rules" communist principle, the Romanian Orthodox Church is trying to gain permanent ownership of the properties seized from the Catholic minority by the communist regime in 1948. The Catholic minority threatened is the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Rite Churches in communion with the Pope...
Can someone more familiar with this situation chime in and say whether the story is accurate?
The report is extremely biased, but if you say bottom line "is the Orthodox in a battle with the "Romanian Church united with Rome, Greek Catholic" (the official title), the answer is yes.
A fact only alluded too but not discussed is that even if you go by the Vatican figures, less than half of the Romanians "united with Rome" have gone back, although they were quite free to do so for decades now. According to the census figures, it is even lower, only about a tenth. The "Union of Alba-Iulia 1699-1701" (the scheme in question) was enforced by imperial decree of Leopold I, and confiscated all Orthodox properties: Orthodox communion being declared treason (this is following edict to outright exterminate the "schismatic Vlachs" i.e. the Romanian Orthodox). When the Orthodox majority refused to sign on for decades, and began erecting their own temples and monasteries, Marie Therese sent Buccow to destroy them all. Even then, she finally in 1759 had to recognize officially that the Orthodox didn't disappear. Despite Imperial support, the number of those in the union began to drop. The figure of two million is often given by church in question: the figures for that don't add up.
The "Catholic Encyclopedia" 1909 gives 1,750,000 Orthodox Romanians in Transylvania, and 1,300,000 for the Romanians under the Vatican in Hungary, the majority, but not the totality, residing in Transylvania. (the census of 1900 for Hungary (CE "Hungary"), which included Transylvania, showed "Uniat Greek 1,843,634...Orthodox Greek 2,799,846). 30 years earlier, the figures I've seen on the population of Transylvania are 31% Orthodox Romanians, 28% the RCUwR,GC. At the eve of the war the CE (Supp. I vol. 17, p. 385) figures for Hungary are "2,008,000 Uniat Greeks...2,004,000 Orthodox Greeks...As a result of the War about....Catholics [of whatever rite]..1,008,000 went to Rumania...since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles there are....158,000 Uniat Greeks...77,000 Orthodox Greeks [in Hungary]. On Rumania [sic] the supplement (p. 644)claims "in 1918 9,695,714 belonged to the Orthodox Church; 1,456,147 were Greek Catholic, 1,483,929 were Roman Catholic." The figures for 1930 in Romania were 1930 Orthodox 13,108,227 (72.6), Uniate 1,427,391 (7.9) Latin 1,234,151 (6.
. These figures comport with others I've seen elsewhere. The Suppliment on "Fogaras" (pp. 311) states that "the Hungarians either imprisoned or interned many priests and layman, and some died during their internment." It also elsewhere mentioned the persecusion by Communist Hungary before the Romanians overthrew Bela Kuhn. To come up with 2 million would require a 37% increase in 30 years, whereas Romania only increased in the same period 6.6% (14,876,787 to 15,872,624: there is the problem that teh frist figure includes Bessarabia and N. Bucovina, later lost: the total without these territories was in 1930 14,280,729 (with them 18,057,028)). These do not factor in the WWII casualties. In other words, massive conversion or birthrate of the Romanians attatched to Fagaras, neither of which is found in the contemporary records (in fact, the opposite trend is seen), would be needed to come up with 2 million.
The "Roman Catholics" were mostly Hungarian and Germans, a point that I found odd that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" translated into Romanian was available long before the English was, in fact nearly right after the first (French) version was available. And it was flooded in Bucharest: I saw adds and copies of it everywhere in 92-93. Now, since not only does the Vatican have a minority in Romania, its flock speaking Romanian is a minority within a minority. Yet the Romanian CCC seemed a priority. This, after the pope of Rome had said that if the Romanians were really
Roman, they would be "Roman Catholic."
But back to the properties: when Transylvania was reunited with Romania, the RCUwR,GC was declared by the constitution to be a second Romanian church, with preference before all other faiths except the state Orthodox Church. As such, it was highly priviledged. That however wasn't enough, and the King-himself a Latin rite communicant of the Vatican (the pope had hoped for him to be the instrument of another "union" scheme)-made an unconstitutional concordant with the Vatican which gave the RCUwR, GC a status superior to the Orthodox Church, e.g. receiving the patriomony of the Hapsburgs (stolen from the Orthodox) as its own. This was a consitent bone of contention.
The issue now is that the RCUwR,GC is denying that anyone was ever forced into union, that the Orthodox properties were ever stolen, that the Hapsburg enriched their church at the expense of the Orthodox-ill gotten gain that the RCUwR,GC was allowed to keep under the unconstitutional concordant. And the fact that the vast majority of its former communicants see no reason to apostacize again from the Orthodox Church, despite aggressive proseltizing.
As a side note, the Vatican's Ukrainian church in Romania was allowed to go on.