pro LIBERTATE Society
for the Freedom of the nations under Communism
New York — recognizing that Catholic Ukraine’s heroic struggle against Communism is not very well understood in the west, the catholic anti-communist magazine Crusade For A Christian Civilization has taken the first step in correcting this situation by publishing a special issue on Ukraine (January, 1977).
Documented with 75 references, the work is being disseminated in several states in this country.
The essay provides a very clear over-all historical view of the relation between Ukraine and the Catholic Church. It shows the factors that led to the Unions of Brest Litovski and Uzhorod by which the Ukrainian Church was reunited with Rome, commenting upon the blood that was shed by Martyrs such as St. Josaphat who was canonized by Pius IX and died in defense of that union.
The long history of the persecution of Catholicism in Ukraine reached an apex under the Russian Communist, who did all they could to destroy the Union of Brest, even going so far as to use the Russian Orthodox Church to convince Ukrainians to break with the Catholic Church. In the face of this persecution, the Ukrainian people responded heroically and the Catholic faith flourished in absolute silence.
However, unexpected obstacles and silences arose as a result of the role of the Vatican.
The article shows how the Vatican Ostpolitik produced very grave consequences for the Ukrainians. In the interest of dialoguing with the Russian Orthodox Church, the secretary of Vatican Council II violated the very regulations of the Council in neither presenting nor submitting to the Council for a vote, the petition by nearly 400 bishops asking the Council to condemn Communism. And later, Pimen, head of the Russian orthodox church, in the presence of Cardinal Willebrands, proclaimed the «end» of the Union of Brest, the total destruction of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and its «triumphal return to the Russian Orthodox Church.» Cardinal Willebrands, official representative of the Vatican, remained silent. In a matter as grave as this, he who remains silent consents.
Consistent with these attitudes which lend themselves to the expansion of Communism, the Vatican Ostpolitik has favored only prelates who are favorable to communism, as for example, recently in Hungary and Lithuania. Similarly, in accord with this practice of pleasing the Soviets, the Vatican has opposed the establishment of the Ukrainian Patriarchate, because this would be viewed as a «Hostile interference in the internal affairs of the USSR.»
None of these positions are being taken to alleviate the conditions of Latin Rite of Uniate Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. On the contrary, since under the Ostpolitik the persecution of both these groups has increased, this policy of the Vatican has actually stimulated the persecution.
This explains to a great extent the essence and importance’s of the Drama of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. «International Communism needs to eliminate the obstacles that stand in the way of its domination of the world. Although the Vatican Ostpolitik is a favorable factor, the Ukrainian Uniate Church is an obstacle.
For this reason, the Vatican no longer defends it nor intercedes for its martyrs.»
As a consequence, the Ukrainian Church belongs to two Churches of Silence. On the one hand, there is the silence imposed on Catholic Ukrainians by the Communist executioners of the USSR and the Russian Orthodox Church On the other hand, there is the silence of the Vatican about the martyrdom of the Catholic Church in Ukraine., and the silence that it tries to impose on the Ukrainians of the emigration and exile about this situation. Thus, the martyrdom of the Catholic Ukrainians executed by the joint efforts of two immense structures, one of which ought to be in charge of saving it, and these structures act together like a pair of pincers.
In such circumstances, it would be natural for Catholic Ukrainians to defend themselves. And, indeed, the article shows that the proper solution for Ukrainian Catholics is to resist the Vatican Ostpolitik which favors the expansion of Communism. The various Societies for the Defense of Tradition, family, and property (TFP), inspired by the brilliant and internationally known Catholic leader Plinio Correa De Oliveira, have already proved that it is legitimate for Catholics to resist unjust applications of ecclesiastical authority at all levels, even the highest. Beginning with St. Paul who resisted St. Peter to his fact, the legitimacy of the resistance has been affirmed by apostles, saints, and great theologians, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, etc. Thus, the solution for Ukrainian Catholics is the Roman Resistance.
The article calls upon the free nations of the west or support Ukraine in its struggle, both as a matter of justice and because the «captive nations» are the Achilie’s heel of Communism. And it appeals to free Ukrainians to assist their brothers in the faith and in blood by resisting the Vatican policy of detente with communist governments. The article concludes with an inspiring appeal which recalls the promise of the conversion of Russia given at Fatima, while emphasizing the historic role of Catholic Ukraine in bringing about the fulfillment of that prophecy.
We thank our friends and brothers in Christ for sincere help in defense of Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Daily Telegraph, 28.3. 77