Poor journalism or something else?

(WBB) In it’s Feb. 2, 1976 issue, «The Way», a Philadelphia based Ukrainian Catholic weekly, has presented to it’s English speaking readers «Editorial Comments» entitled: «A TRUE SHEPHERD DOES NOT FLEE WHEN A WOLF APPROACHES». Aside from the fact that no one can find any justification for such a title over the piece of writing discussed, «Editorial Comments» do merit a careful study and a detailed scrutiny.

1. «There is so much to be said about a patriarchate of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.»

Yes, indeed. Why, then, so little has been said on the subject by the editors of «The Way» during past ten years or so? Why «The Way» has failed to inform it’s English speaking readers about all the aspects of the problem so vital to our Church? Why «The Way» remains silent on this matter as a rule, and once in a while suddenly becomes eloquent after it’s editors and sponsors have decided to attack those who are active in struggle for introducing a patriarchal system in our Ukrainian Catholic Church? Why?

2. «There is a unanimous sentiment among Ukrainian Catholics that there should be such an entity.»

It is not so. Regrettably, the deeds and words (and often — lack of same) of some of the bishops, clergy, the religious and faithful within our Church provide ample proof that they do not want our Church to be governed according to her own Eastern laws. They have failed to lend their support to our Patriarch in his efforts to achieve this noble goal. In fact, they have failed to follow the call of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, addressed to all Ukrainian Catholics (Feb. 25, 1965) to recognize His Beatitude as one «… highly authoritative leader, in whom you could have full confidence…» «… I wish to give to you, the Ukrainians, a high spokesman of your unity; to establish a firm center for your religious and national life…» The call of the Holy Father was addressed to (in his own words) «… all you, my Ukrainian sons, who are dispersed all over the world…», that is — not only to those who live in Ukraine (the territory !!!) but also and maybe especially to those who live in diaspora. (That papal address has been witnessed — among others — by bishop Augustine Hornyak, O. S. B. M. who 11 years later did suspend two Ukrainian Catholic priests, as punishment specifically for their expressed loyalty toward our highly authoritative leader His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf…)

3. «Ukrainian Orthodox look askance at the possibility because of the inclusion of «all» Ukrainian lands.»

Would an English speaking Ukrainian Catholic know what this sentence suggests? Decidedly not! Why, then, has this sentence been written? Since when — and in which other religious matters — have the editors of «The Way» started caring about opinions of our Ukrainian Orthodox brethren?…

4. «In the former group, the when and why of the establishment have become a football for whatever team you wish to join.»

We do recognize the way of speech but we must take exception to the above statement. Never has the establishment of our Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchate been a football for us who are for immediate implementation of traditional rights in our particular Church. His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf calls it «a Holy Cause», «a Divine Cause»; how could it be foot ball to us, who do respect his pronouncements and follow him as our highly authoritative leader?!

Only those who are against it — are «kicking» and they do it with a gusto, often applying what is known as a «foul play», as it will be apparent in further «Editorial Comments» by the editors of «The Way».

5. «The loudest voices who have labeled themselves as «patriarchal» are causing dissent here and there.»

False. The loudest, strongest and most authoritative voice for a Ukrainian Patriarchate is that of His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf. His voice and his acts are positive, constructive, creative endeavors with a magnificent ideal as a goal: The re-establishment of Eastern principles in our Church. The strongest antagonists of this ideal are the leaders of the Soviet Communist Party, Soviet government and the Russian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, these forces have found allies among some of the influential Vatican dignitaries. In violation of the letter and spirit of the Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches, the powerful Roman Curia personalities have influenced Pope Paul VI to reverse himself in regard to our Patriarch; through pressure upon some Ukrainian Catholic bishops they created a dissent within our Church. Sadly enough, the weaklings in our own midst, under cover of their loyalty toward the Pope, are trying to jeopardize the efforts of our Patriarch. They are dissidents motivated by their desire to please the ecclesiastic dignitaries from without our particular Church. Pro-patriarchal forces of our own do not cause any dissent.

6. «Ukrainian Catholics have admirably been silent when accused of being «antipatriarchal» because they refuse to follow the frenzied and of times irreligious leaders of the «patriarchal» movement.»

What the editors of «The Way» call an «admirable silence» on the part of Ukrainian Catholics who are justly accused of being anti-patriarchal, is — IN OUR EVES — a despicable, cowardly silence, like remarkable silence of «The Way». They would not enter into discussion because they have so little to say except for expressing their super-loyalty toward the Roman Curia. They do know too well that, for a Ukrainian Catholic, it is ridiculous to be loyal to the Pope and at the same time to be disloyal to his own particular Ukrainian Catholic Church which is a Divine Institution: The Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. So, they prefer to remain silent, hoping that they will not look ridiculous. To no avail! Ridiculous they do look, silent or not silent.

To call the leaders of the Ukrainian Patriarchal movement «frenzied and of times irreligious» is, to say the least, a gross trespass against the code of journalistic ethics. We refrain from elaborating on such an unsubstantial libelous presumption, leaving it on the conscience of the editor of «The Way» (or is he a Rev. Father Editor?).

7. «Among the latest victims is a good bishop, Most Rev. Augustine Hornyak, O.S.B M.»

Most Rev. Augustine Hornyak, O. S. B. M. — a victim? What has happened to him? The editor of «The Way» does not explain (and calls it an «admirable silence»). What kind of journalism is this? Here is an editorial comment regarding certain subject, but the editor chooses not to tell the readers what is the subject! His is the role to «editorialize», to libel, but not to inform…

8. «We would like to share with joy his comments made to The Times of London January 12 about the demonstration and the Pope’s decision not to establish a patriarchate for the time being (and these words are very important).»

What use to quote «a good bishop’s» comments to The Times of London about the demonstrations, when the readers of «The Way» have never read of any? What use to repeat ad infinitum the vague and contradictory statements meant to whitewash the motives behind the Pope’s decision to reject legitimate demands for reinstitution of the Eastern Church Law for our Ukrainian Catholic Church?

The editor of «The Way» decided to give his readers bishop. Hornyak’s side of the story without even mentioning the fact that the sad state of our Church affairs in England has prompted His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf to send a pastoral letter to bishop Hornyak, the clergy and the faithful Ukrainian Catholics in England. Had it not been appropriate to quote from that pastoral letter a few sentences as well? The editor of «The Way» and/or his superiors decided not to.

Is it a poor journalism only? Is it a poor Ukrainian journalism only? Is it a poor American journalism only? Maybe. But it is definitely an infinitely poor Catholic journalism. Or something else.