Ukrainians protest Vatican appointments

NEW YORK (NC) – August 1, 1974 – A group of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States has protested the manner in which Pope Paul VI appointed three new Ukrainian-rite bishops in Canada and established a new eparchy (diocese). •

The group said Cardinal Josyf Slipyi, the exiled Major Archbishop of L’viv in the Soviet Union, who is living in Rome, has stated through a spokesman that he «is in no way associated with the most recent episcopal nominations.»

The group is the Society for a Patriarchal System in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. It has consistently opposed Vatican actions relating to the Ukrainian rite, maintaining that, like other Easter-rite Churches, Ukrainian Catholics deserve their own Patriarchate, with Cardinal Slipyi as patriarch.

The Vatican has refused to treat the cardinal as a patriarch and contends that it cannot establish a Ukrainian patriarchate for canonical (legal), historical, spiritual and pastoral reasons. In 1971 Cardinal Slipyi called the Vatican response a sell-out to Moscow.

According to the society for a patriarchate, Cardinal Slipyi responded to inquiries about his possible role in the recent appointments through his chancellor, Father Ivan Choma, who said that the Cardinal had suggested two new bishoprics in Canada in 1968, but that since that time no One has consulted His Beatitude on these matters.

Cardinal Slipyi and Father Choma could not be reached in Rome for comment— they were out of the city—but a reliable Vatican source told NC News that the Cardinal had not been consulted.

The informant said the names of the bishops had been presented for Pope Paul’s approval after consultation and agreement between the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Eastern-rite Churches, and the office of the Vatican’s apostolic pronuncio in Ottawa.

The Metropolitan of Winnipeg Maxim Hermaniuk was also consulted, the source said, since he is president of the Conference of the Ukrainian Catholic Heirarchy.

The Conference is listed in the Vatican’s official yearbook with Archbishop Hermaniuk as president, but Archbishop Hermaniuk’s secretary,

Father Jaropolk Radkewycz, told NC that the archbishop considers the Conference dissolved and non-existent and does not consider himself the head of the Ukrainian hierarchy.

(Father Radkewycz said the Ukrainian people «are happy we have the new diocese,» but he declined to comment on his own or the archbishop’s reaction to the manner in which the diocese was created or the new bishops appointed.)

«The Ukrainian Catholic Church is the largest of all Eastern Catholic Churches,» said the Society for a Patriarchal System in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. «It is larger than all the other Eastern Catholic Churches combined.»

«According to the traditional rights of Eastern Catholic Churches, the appointment of bishops in these Churches is the prerogative of the head of the particular Church—in the case of the Ukrainian Church His Beatitude Josyf (Josip) I together with his synod of bishops. As in the case of the recent nominations, this right has been frequently violated by the Vatican.»

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