International Herald Tribune,
Wednesday, october 5, 1977
ROME, Oct. 4 (Reuters). — Ukrainian Catholic leaders said here today that the Vatican and the Kremlin were destroying their church, which is banned in the Soviet Union but supported by about 2 million faithful in the Western world.
«Vatican curial circles are latinizing the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Moscow policymakers are Russifying it. Both practices spell the death of this church,» a statement issued by the Ukrainian church leaders said.
They renewed demands that the Vatican recognize Cardinal Jozef Slipyj, who was allowed to leave the Soviet Union in 1963 after spending 18 years in prison, as the patriarch of the church.
The Vatican, which has allowed the cardinal to live here, has consistently refused to recognize him as the autonomous leader of the church to avoid further friction with the Soviet Union and its East European allies.
Soviet authorities banned the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 1946 by forcibly incorporating it into the Russian Orthodox Church.