"I'd like to add to my reply above that I might buy part of DL's argument IF we were establishing patriarchates in the west, dressing up our clergy as Latins, celebrating a western mass, in Latin, and told the people we were Catholic (which we are) just not in communion with the Pope."
I would buy your arguement if we were doing such things. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š It is not as if we are importing Italians or French into Ukraine or Romania or anywhere else. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š These are native Eastern Christians who choose to be in Communion with Rome. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š You might not like it or agree with it, but it is fact.If the Ukrainian Church is raised to the rank of patriarchate what does it matter?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š How many times has it been said here that in Eastern ecclesiology every bishop is equal or that all Autocephalous Churches are equal regardless of the title of the primate?
Moscow's arguement is that no Catholic diocese or exarchy should exist on their canonical territory.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š They throw fits everytime a diocese is erected Latin or Eastern.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Which is fine as arguements go, but the MP certainly does not refrain from setting up dioceses in Western Europe.
The bottom line is either you believe in freedom of religion or you don't.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Sadly many Orthodox seem like hypocrites on this point, complaining, and rightly so, when they are denied this freedom but then turning around and denying other Christians this same freedom in places they control.
Fr. Deacon Lance
How many of the current UGC priests and nuns have been imported from Poland Fr Deacon Lance? ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š And one has to take notice that, in spite of how many times the Quadriparitie Comission has been brought up here, your comment that all these people chose the Unia both in 1596 and in the 1990's is questionable -
Reagrding the Quadripartitie Commission
Now, at the end of 1980s, under the influence of the nationalist movement in Western Ukraine, the Greek Catholics began to re-establish their presence in the region. What may have become a restoration of justice, however, turned out to be a crying injustice, since the revival of the Greek Catholic Church took place at the expense of the Orthodox Church. On 29 October 1989, the Greek Catholics seized the Transfiguration Cathedral of Lvov, after expelling the Orthodox from it. Shortly thereafter, many similar acts occurred in other parts of the country.January 1990 saw the creation of the so-called Quadrennial Commission, which comprised representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Roman Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Rite Catholics from Western Ukraine. The Commission began to discuss concrete cases of human rights violations during the campaign launched by the Uniates. In March 1990, the Commission developed basic principles for the distribution of the property between the Greek Catholics and the Orthodox. It was agreed that, where there are two churches, one should be given to the Greek Catholics and another one remain Orthodox; where there is only one church, it should belong to the majority group, which must in this case help the minority find or build a suitable place of worship. However, on 13 March 1990, the Greek Catholics unilaterally left the Commission. From then on the seizure of the Orthodox churches (some of them had belonged to the Orthodox even before the Union of 1596) assumed an avalanche-like character. In many places violent methods were employed by the Greek Catholics as they seized Orthodox churches and expelled parishioners from their places of worship. Tensions between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics led to clashes and mass disorders. By the end of 1990, most churches in Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk had been captured and by the end of 1991, 597 churches had been taken from the Orthodox.
Commenting on these events, the Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church stated in 1997:
In such a situation it was important to do the utmost to bring home to public opinion, to international organizations, to Christian Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, that beating Orthodoxy in Western Ukraine was not only an act of violation of human rights and religious freedom, but also an annihilation of whatever progress the dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches had made in the previous years. It was essential to show that Uniatism was a dangerous and unacceptable way for achieving unity.
The Unia has brought about new divisions, tearing the One Body of the Orthodox Church. The four centuries of its maintenance have revealed it as a dangerous form of proselytism against Orthodoxy. Human suffering and even bloodshed were the sad aftermath of the divisions it had caused.
At the same time, it is important to emphasize that, while repudiating Unia as a method, the Churches do not abjure people. The Greek Catholic communities existing today, with a legal right to exist, like any other religious organization or association, should cease to be the source of divisions and conflicts between the Orthodox and Catholics. To serve this purpose, rules should be worked out to regulate co-existence and relations in places where there is tension causing suffering among the people of God.
The revival of the Greek Catholic Church in Western Ukraine, accompanied as it was by violence, together with other, similar events in the Transcarpathian region, brought the Joint Catholic-Orthodox Commission to decide on suspending the discussion of purely theological topics and to turn to the burning issue of Uniatism. In 1990, the sixth plenary session of the Commission in Freising (Munich) set out to discuss the matter. The Statement that ensued said, among other things, that 'Unia, as a method, failed-where it was introduced-to bring the Churches closer. On the contrary, it caused further disunity. The situation, as a whole, gave occasion to confrontation and pain which became imprinted in the historical memory of both Churches. Ecclesiological motives, too, call for some other methods to be found'. Both sides of the Commission were resolute in their denunciation of Uniatism: 'We reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches'. The Freising Statement was accepted with satisfaction by most Orthodox Churches. The Roman Catholic Church, however, did not ratify it.
In 1993, the seventh plenary session of the Joint Commission took place in Balamand, Lebanon. The representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Orthodox Churches (excluding the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian and Czechoslovak Churches) agreed on the theological principles and practical recommendations with regard to Uniatism. Once again, it was stated that Uniatism is not a method for achieving unity between the Catholics and the Orthodox:
Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as Sister Churches, this form of 'missionary apostolate' described above, and which has been called 'uniatism', can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed or as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.
All forms of proselytism were strongly condemned, and a call to mutual collaboration was made:
While the inviolable freedom of persons and their obligation to follow the requirements of their conscience remain secure, in the search for re-establishing unity there is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation.
The Eastern Catholic Churches... should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.
Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church.
Religious freedom would be violated when, under the cover of financial assistance, the faithful of one Church would be attracted to the other, by promises, for example, of education and material benefits that may be lacking in their own Church. In this context, it will be necessary that social assistance, as well as every form of philanthropic activity, be organized with common agreement so as to avoid creating new suspicions.
Furthermore, the necessary respect for Christian freedom - one of the most precious gifts received from Christ - should not become an occasion for undertaking a pastoral project which may also involve the faithful of other Churches, without previous consultation with the pastors of these Churches.
Those in charge of the communities concerned should create joint local commissions or make effective those which already exist, for finding solutions to concrete problems and seeing that these solutions are applied in truth and love, in justice and peace. If agreement cannot be reached on the local level, the question should be brought to mixed commissions established by higher authorities.
Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a Sister Church.