Father Maloney`s critique

Father G. Maloney presents three basic problems concerning the establishment of the Ukr. Cath. Patriarchate. The answers to these three problems form an indirect critique of Msgr. Pospishil`s theses. The three problems are: 1) Did the Vatican Council Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches really restore to the Eastern Catholic Churches and, specifically, to the Ukr. Catholics “their rights and privileges (that) should be reestablished in accordance with the ancienttraditions of each Church and the decrees of the ecumenical synod”? 2) Does the Major_Archbishop have jurisdiction within his territory (the Metropolia of Kiev-Halych) even if he lives outside of it? 3) Do he and his synod have jurisdiction outside of their historical territory, i.e. over all Ukr. Catholics throughout the whole world?

In his articles, Msgr. Pospishil`s fundamental frame of reference reveals evasions and obstacles to the movement for the establishment of a Ukr. Cath. Patriarchate. Msgr. Pospishil, a canonist in the Roman Ecclesiastical system, argues that regardless of what rights should be recognizedby the Vatican, the only actual rights the Ukr. Cath. Church possesses is what the pope and his curial staff deem appropriate for the Ukrainians to have. The Ukr. Cath. Church has received promulgated norms from the Vatican Council which ought to lead to the recognition of its seIf governanee, but “this is not so, if for no other reason than the fact that the pope who possesses supreme legislative and administrative authority in the Cath. Church, has said so through his official spokesman in matters of Eastern Churches, the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches.” (p. 8) Such an understanding ignores the unanimous acceptance on the part of the pope himself and the College of Bishops that Church order is one of collegiality.

Did the Vatican Council II truly promulgate not only a new spirit, but laws that are in effect from the moment that a given decree was promulgated by the Roman Pontiff? The Decree on the Eastern Churches is to a large degree a legislative document in which there are certain laws established. There are also norms and exhortative statements about the Eastern Rites. The pope in signing the text of promulgation on November 21, 1964, stated clearly і “…All these directives of law are enacted for the present circumstances till such time as the Church and the separated Eastern Churches come together into complete unity.” Msgr. Pospishil argues that Vatican II’s Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches did not really restore the ancient rights to the Ukr. Church. He alleges that these were norms that now must await further legislation from the Sacred Congregation for Eastern Churches or from a top revision of Eastern Canon Law that might take decades to accomplish. In criticizing the work of the legislators of the Decree, students of canon law should not forget that they are only interpreters of the law. By examining the Decree, there can be no doubt that the Council Fathers were recognizing as restored to the Eastern Churches their ancient rights and that there was no need to wait for a new code.

The following quotes are essential points of the Decree in the Eastern Churches :

“For this reason, it solemnly declares that the Churches of the

East… «fully enjoy the right and are in duty “bound to rule themselves. Each should do so according to its proper and individual procedures»” (#5)

“If they have improperly fallen away from them (their ancient practices) because of circumstances of time or personage, let them (the Eastern Churches) take pains to return to their ancestral ways”(#6)

“This sacred Synod, therefore, decrees that their rights should “be re-established in accord with, the ancient traditions of each Church. The rights and privileges in question are those which flourished when East and West were in union, though they should be somewhat adapted to modern conditions-Patriarchs with their synods constitute the superior authority for all affairs of the patriarchate including the right to establish new eparchies and to nominate bishops of their right within the territorial bounds of the patriarchate…” (#9)

This also applies to major-archbishops as the decree merely repeats what the Motu Propio of Eastern Canon Law, Cleri Sanctitati of June 2, 1957. had already stated, namely, that a major-arch­bishop such as Metropolitan Joseph Slipyj is the equivalent of a patriarch»

The second important question that Pospishil aviods answering is «Does Major-Archbishop Slipyj have jurisdiction within his territàry of the Metropolia of Kiev-Halych, even if he lives out­side? Surely leaving one’s territory for a visit to another country does not take away both the right and duty of a Major-Archbishop to rule his territory according to all the rights granted him (rights which make him equal to a patriarch) by Eastern Canon Law and the traditions of the ancient Ukrainian Church Established by Rome at the Brest Union and reaffirmed by Vatican II. If such a visit is extended to a continued sojourn in the Vatican, Metropolitan Slipyj administers his territory by delegating authority to others. It seems very clear that even though the Vatican deems it unwise to comment on this situation, the answer to the question, for the good of souls, is a definite affirmation.

The third and perhaps most important question and one that Pospishil answers negatively is* Does Metropolitan Slipyj and his newly-formed synod of four permanent members actually enjoy jurisdiction with him outside of the historical ecclesiastical territory of Kiev-Halych, over all Ukrainian Catholics throughout the whole world? Pospishil argues on a strictly legalistic basis. Pope Paul VI does so also in his letter rejecting to the Ukrainian Patriarchate. In the Eastern Churches Canon Law, the Cleri Sanctitati explicitly states that the principle of territory holds “unless some other reason demands otherwise from the very nature of the case or constituted by some right.” (Can. 326,#2.)

History shows a constant practice, even among the Western patriarchs, of extending their jurisdiction to new lands even where there already existed an established hierarchy of another part of the Catholic Church. There are innumerable examples of double jurisdiction in the same territory. How many times has the Latin Church set up its own jurisdiction in Eastern lands because their faithful had either migrated there or because Latin missionareis had made convert S to the Latin rite. Such examples are the extension of the Latin rite jurisdiction to such Eastern lands as Palestine and the Near East during and after the Crusades, in India, side by side with the more ancient Eastern Malabar Christians, in Egypt, and in Ethiopia. In Lviv itself there existed for centuries three jurisdictions within the very same territory: a Ukrainian rite archbishop, an Armenian rite archbishop, and a Latin rite archbishop. The question which should be asked is: Why does the Pope of Rome suddenly call upon the principle of territory to restrict the Ukr. Church in its demands for autonomy (to exercise jurisdiction wherever Ukr. Catholics reside) when for centuries the good of souls dictated that this out-dated principle of territory be ignored?

The jurisdiction of patriarchs and major-archbishops must be extended outside of the limits of their own territories. The basic reason for this is that the good of the faithful requires it. The Decree on the Eastern Churches clearly insists that the ancient traditions are to be maintained; that these Churches are to rule themselves. Such Eastern pastors know best the traditions of their Church; they will zealously maintain their ancient rights and customs. Today the personal aspect is more important in questions of jurisdiction than the principle of territory. Another reason why it is important that the Ukrainians have the right to rule themselves wherever they may be organized in the framework of their own Ukrainian Cath. Church is one touching upon principles of ecumenism. In the Brest Union of 1596, the Vatican promised that the Ukr. Church would be guaranteed their own ancient traditions, especially the ability to choose their own bishops to rule themsèlves in their ancient synodal administration, and to retain married clergy. One by one among the Ukr. Catholics scattered abroad in the West these rights have been taken away over the 375 years of union with Rome.

In a fundamental understanding of Church law, law is only a means not an end to aid the faithful to come into the divinization process for which Jesus Christ established His Church. Charity of the good of the faithful must take precedence over an outmoded law of limited jurisdiction to a historical territory. If we idolize law and forget the end of the Church, we have created a monster, a man-made idol, caricature in Dostoevsky’s Legend of the Grand Inquisitor, as a Church power, authority, and magic that has destroyed the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. Only by recognizing that the Ukr. Cath. Church has always Mad the right to exercise her autonomy will the Ukr. Church grow dynamically as a part of those Eastern Churches which the Catholic bishops at the Second Vatican Council “solemnly declared-fully enjoy the right and are in duty bound to rule themselves” ($5) If the Ukr. Catholic Church cannot rule itself wherever its faithful is, it will cease to exist in a few short decades.

The Ukr. Catholic faithful in America, Canada, Europe, South America, and Australia, wherever are Ukr. Cath. faithful, must see that autonomy is not something to be granted to their Church by the pope. They must begin to think as a Church; they already possess “pomisnist” an autonomy that dates back to centuries before they united with Rome. They must never cease their efforts until the whole universal Church in fraternal charity and universal harmony accepts them as Catholics with some of many diverse modes of experiencing and living the unique Christ event.

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