24 September 2005, 15:35
Cardinal Husar denounces Uniatism and urges to establish a one Orthodox-Catholic Church in Ukraine
Moscow, September 24, Interfax - Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, following President Viktor Yuschenko, has spoken in favour of establishing a one Church in Ukraine.
According to the cardinal, all the church problems would be solved, ‘if Ukraine had one patriarch for all’. This is the basis on which both the Orthodox and Catholics could ‘return to the primary unity’, he believes as cited by the Religious Information Service in Ukraine this week.
At the same time, he adds, ‘there are no claims that a Greek Catholic should be the patriarch’; what is only important is that ‘this patriarch should be a person capable of uniting all’.
However, Husar lays down the condition ‘that this Church and this patriarch should be united with Rome’. It seems to mean that if the patriarch is not initially Uniate, he will have to join the Unia afterwards.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, its leader affirms, ‘continues the historical policy of the Kiev Metropolia’, but as the cardinal’s present designation of ‘supreme archbishop’ is little known in ‘the tradition of Eastern Churches’, ‘an ordinary Christian does not know what to do with it’. In Husar’s view, the UGCC ‘has long grown up to act as patriarchate, for it is a natural development for a Local Church in the Eastern tradition’.
At the same time the cardinal is concerned about ‘the failure of the Latin theology to appreciate any sharing between Local Churches and Rome’. The Vatican, he believes, understood unity ‘as subjection’ and this process was called ‘Uniatism’.
‘Denouncing Uniatism today’, Husar points out, he seeks ‘a vision of unity which should be built not on uniformity, but on the preservation of everyone’s own tradition in the form of sharing’. This is ‘a rather complicated’ problem and, to the cardinal’s regret, ‘not quite adequately solved’. The Ukrainian Greek Catholics, however, intend ‘to move towards its solution and to be in the vanguard’, though ‘not everyone in Rome has been made to change his mind’.
The Supreme Archbishop underscores that in the matter of one Church ‘much hangs on relations with the Orthodox’, referring to both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church linked with the Moscow Patriarchate and the unrecognized Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
He believes however that among the Orthodox ‘the spiritual processes develop in a very much disordered way’ - a reason for which ‘we all are in a rather chaotic state, from which we should come out step by step’.
Husar says he would welcome the emergence of three patriarchs in Kiev at once, ‘Russian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Autocephalous’, because they would make ‘three partners in negotiations’, and this would make ‘a concrete talk much easier’ and help to come ‘to the idea of one patriarch and one patriarchate’ much sooner.
According to the cardinal, ‘neither Moscow nor Rome will give us our unity’. It has to be developed independently. And then ‘Rome, Constantinople or Moscow, which is much younger compared to them, will just accept this fact’. He sees it more desirable to consider this issue ‘in a discussion in which various confessions and the government could participate’, since ‘the Ukrainian president has stated on many occasions that the government would like to see a one Local Church’.
In order to influence those Ukrainians who ‘are not disposed’ to such a dialogue today, the cardinal proposes to use the existing ‘examples of certain decisions’. He cites Northern Ireland, where ‘people are struggling for a life in harmony’. His also cited relations between the Palestinian and the Israeli as a similar example.
In Husar’s opinion, the negotiations on unification should be started by ‘people with higher education and solid religious training’. In doing so, they should understand that the aim of the negotiations is already clear: ‘the Church should be one, and we all recognize it’, so the unification ‘is not a matter of our good will. It is the commandment that is in point’.