Many of us from the Voice of the Ukrainian Community often hear queries like: What gives you the right to question the policies of various church officials? Who are you to make suggestions, to criticize, to voice approval or disapproval? These and other similar questions have been answered by His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, the head of the Catholic Church in Holland. Cardinal Alfrink, in discussing the changes in the Church brought about by the Second Vatican Council, stated, «Every Christian has a definite responsibility toward all sphares of Christian and Church life. He therefore has not only the right but also the responsibility to voice his wishes and to make proposals to the bishops. He also must make sure that these proposals are viable—he must insure the catholicity of his wishes and seriously consider the possibility of putting them into practice». Cardinal Alfrink admits that this is something rather new in the Catholic Church. He stresses the need of dialog, of consultation between a given bishop and the faithful. To quote Cardinal Alfrink againt «We are dealing with something new here, to which everybody must get used to, bishops as well as the faithful… Such a form of consultation calls on the responsibility of all, bishops and faithful, toward the local and the Universal Church. The idea of a common responsibility of bishops, priests, and faithful is an essential improvement over past practices by means of which the Church was governed in an excessively clerial manner. This common responsibility does not mean that the differences of duty and office must disappear, it simply means that they must be realized in a dialogue».
We of the Voice of the Ukrainian Community as well as the Society for the promotion of the Patriarchal system in the Ukrainian Catholic Church have always believed in dialog, in sharing responsibilities, in working for the good of our Church. On the other hand, we have always opposed any high-handed attempt, any sly political or diplomatic maneuver to weaken its unity and integrity, and we will continue to do so in the future.
The question remains—when will the true spirit of the Second Vatican Council enlighten our hierarchy, clergy, and our faithful, so that .we can all work united for the good of our Ukrainian Catholic Church and the culmination of her autonomous status in a patriarchate.