It's amazing how history is distorted and rewritten by those who use force and politics rather than theology as their chief weapon.
You like to quote George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (from "Life of Reason I").
We must remember the past but we cannot judge it out of context. From the time of the schism through Councils of Lyons and Florence, and the Unions of Brest, Uzhorod, and Alba Julia both Catholic and Orthodox Churches were tied to politics and the the idea that the religion of the king should be the religion of the people.
LOL. I'm sure that is what Pope Clement VII told Henry the VIII.
I believe that I have previously pointed out that the East has never accepted the idea of cuius regio, eius religio
, as the Monothelite Heracleans, the Iconoclast emperors and those emperors who submitted to the Vatican in a deal for military aid, found out to their sorrow. And that went on into modern times: the first Kings of Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, for instance, newly freed from the Ottomans, were communicants with the Vatican
. Despite that, they still appointed the Holy Governing Synods, and the state Church remained the Orthodox Faith of the masses of their subjects.
Caesaropapism is a projection of the West. It doesn't describe the symphonia of the East.
We should not be surprised that during this time Emperors and Kings promoted and facilitated the movement of their populations from one church to the other. From a theological and moral view this is inadmissable. But as history shows from the time of St. Constantine till now politics unfortunately rise to the top. We cannot, however, turn back the clock and pretend history did not happen. Whether the formation of the Greek Catholic Churches was right or wrong, centuries have passed and they now exist full of people who don't want to be Orthodox and don't want to be Latin Catholic. You have the right to think they are wrong for thinking that way but you don't have the right to tell them they can't be what they have been raised to be: Greek Catholic.
You mean the confused "Orthodox in communion with Rome?"
That is easy enough in theory. But then, to follow up on the OP, you get claims of self-proclaimed patriarch Husar on see of Kiev. Kiev has a canonical bishop, +Volodymyr, who continues the episcopal line unbroken from the time it was established in Kiev.
You also can't ask children to pay for the sins of their fathers. The difference between 1596 and 1946 is that in 1990 people were still alive who were kicked out of the churches and forced underground in 1946.
Saint Alexei Kabalyuk, who was kicked out of his churches and forced underground by the Austria-Hungarians, and many, many in his flock were still alive in 1946.
When my old priest's father came to the US, his bishop told him to go to the Orthodox bishop, and not the Latin one, in America. "Here we have to be Katolik. In Amerika you don't." He was alive too.
And his wife, who watched the Polish police drag out priests in their vestment to dance like bears, was alive too when the Polish government went on a campaign of destroying and confiscating Orthdoox Churches, selling bonds to tear down what was the Metropolitan Cathedral of Poland. She was alive too.
I know how you have been misled: the histories of Brest, Uzhhorod and Alba Iulia that the Vatican puts out portrays it as a popular rush to kiss the papal slipper. The acts were signed and PRESTO! Greek Catholic masses.
The Truth lies elsewhere.
The Orthodox masses fought the "unions" as they had fought Florence, bringing home that although some bishops, even if the majority of bishops, wanted to wheel and deal, the Orthodox Church was not for sale.
In the case of Alba Iulia, for instance, you have the Austrians taking all the Church properties, and then a century later rampaging throughout the land, destroying the buildings the Orthodox had built to replace the stolen. From 1596 to 1940, it was a continuous struggle that did not let up. So you are right, the generation of 1596 were not alive in 1940. But their descendants, physical and spiritual were. As they were in Galicia, Little Poland, Byelorussia, etc...
And given the declining life expectancy in Ukraine, we are not talking about a large number of "those who were still alive."
Btw, your source raised a question of how Orthodox the Faithful were in 1946. I wonder how much in union they were in 1940 and before.
You may think the UOC-MP keeping the churches taken in 1946 rectifies 1596
but it cannot because taking back the churches of the innocent ancestors of Brest cannot repair the damage done, a people once united in faith now divided no longer in communion with one another. We cannot pertend the past has not been. You don't trust the Latin and Greek Catholics, justifiably so. But for what reason should the Greek Catholics have trusted the UOC-MP or a commission of Latin Catholics they knew to be more interested in appeasing the MP than protecting their rights and interests?
Because you chose your supreme pontiff. Now obey him. This is nothing new: the unions were always geared to extracting submission to the Vatican in exchange for lip service to rights and interests of the submitted.
What reason did the UGCC have to trust that parish elections wouldn't be rigged by those who took the churches in the first place?
Is that the guilty conscience of the claim "the bishops petitioned for union" that I hear?
They too were justified. Again that is the past.
Unlike 1946, there are plenty of people still alive....