(The Byzantine Catholic missions in Greece and Russia failed.)
Hmmm, I don't see that ... just like I don't see WRO as an outright failure.
Nor do I, but it has not gained a lot of traction either....again, in my opinion for many of the same reasons eastern Catholicism reached a "high water" line and then receded. The square peg in round hole argument...
To the majority view in both the Roman world and the Orthodox world, regardless of the historical precedence for a multiplicity of "rites" within the undivided church, the presence of the ritual of the "others" just seems not to fit. I'm not justifying that POV, just noting its powerful reality. It's part of what drove many back to Orthodoxy from the Greek Catholic church in the centuries following the unions...
For example, if WRO is equally appropriate, why would ROCOR "train" WRO clergy to serve as Byzantines when joint services are held? Heck, the Romans never did that to the Greek Catholics in spite of everything. To me that alone sums things up regarding the ROCOR WRO. Separate, but never equal applies to both the ECC and the WRO. I do not get how folks can accept that status. St Alexis didn't, my grandparents didn't, nor could I.
I hear you.
The difference between the sides is how they interpret that. I read it as a sign from God that, rather than a church setting up imitation churches of the other rites (but the true-church claims mean those churches have the right to be), all the Eastern churches should be back in the Catholic Church with their rites as is. Orthodox tend to read and practice it as the church equals the Byzantine Rite. Understandably (Cum Data Fuerit
) the Orthodox often accuse Rome of believing vice versa but we really don't.
A successful medieval union wouldn't have destroyed the Orthodox rite because travel and communication were so hard that Rome couldn't have done that even if it wanted to (it didn't), so Greece, Russia, etc., would have carried on as normal, run by local custom is is right, much like the Melkites did but better.
The schisms in America happened because overlapping rites were largely a new experience for Catholic churchmen, and the Roman Riters handled it very badly. Rather like the uncanonical situation in American Orthodoxy of overlapping immigrant-based jurisdictions, another novelty, necessary because to force otherwise would be unfair/a pastoral disaster/suicidal.
Again I don't think the church ever saw partial unions as a permanent solution but arguably we used to pursue them as a goal. You can look at the failed missions in Greece and Russia two ways, as a witness to unity to persuade the Greek and Russian churches as a whole to come back (the approach I believe in, which is Catholic policy now), or with the goal
of converting individual Orthodox. They failed at both (Orthodoxy's the state church of Greece so the government understandably cracked down on the mission; the Soviets, hating the Catholic Church because they couldn't take it over, crushed what little there was of the Russian Catholic Church, which at first foolishly welcomed the change in government as an opportunity to advance its work). Bad strategy because it makes the Orthodox not trust us.
The true heroes and protectors of Eastern Catholics in the 20th century weren't Toth or Chornock, as understandable as their situations were (but sad in my view, not something to celebrate, and again, our churchmen started it) but, for example, Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky), an Easternizer, and acting Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sterniuk), who ran the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Ukraine as a completely underground operation.
You think if the ACROD split hadn't happened, the Greek Catholics in America would have disappeared; they'd all be run-of-the-mill Novus Ordo
Catholics with a few ethnic customs. Understandable but I don't think the outcome (a small, shrinking church) would have been much different. You'd still have had extreme self-latinization* in the '50s followed by the push from Rome to correct that for the ecumenical reason, with Vatican II. (Catholic churchmen's main concern with that was relations with Russia and Greece, not the schisms in America.) These churches still would have lost people after the third generation in America when they weren't really Carpatho-Russian or Ukrainian anymore, and they moved and married out of the ethnic communities. And vocations still would have cratered because of the one-two punch of the council and secularization in the larger culture. Clerical marriage, while good and your perfect right, doesn't stop those last two.
*I'm a moderate on latinization. (Some crossover is inevitable: among Arab Christians, and the mixture of Polish and Ukrainian customs, for example.) With the church I say don't start it, but where it exists I like it when it's pre-Vatican II and doesn't take over the rite, so the monsignori and the Rosary Society can go on forever as far as I'm concerned, but don't ban clerical marriage, take down the iconostasis, or replace Saturday Vespers with Roman Catholic devotions or a Saturday-night Mass.