Unity in Diversity

Unity is a very popular word which one hears very often during various discussions of political, social, and ecclesiastical issues. Yet the meaning of the word unity differs in various contexts. There is a natural unity among a homogenous group of people, there may be a political unity within a country under pressure from outside, and there is a spiritual unity which is the product of a community that practices the same faith.

In religious organizations and churches spiritual unity is achieved voluntarily inasmuch as these institutions embrace the same ideals and the same principles. However, even within these organizations, there are very often substantial differences, occasioned by different points of view and different ideas about modes of procedure. Strong organizations and strong nations are able to overcome these differences with a minimum of effort and thus are usually successful in maintaining their unity. Weak organizations or national entities often fail in resolving their conflicts and thus destroy the unity which is essential for their survival.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is presently in a critical situation. Her existence is threatened and the unity of her faithful is in grave danger. Among the factors of division are the introduction of the Latin rite calendar and the use of unauthorized liturgical language. The danger is intensified by the lack of a dialogue in our communities among individuals of opposing points of view. We have failed to construct any kind of mechanism by means of which we could sit down, discuss, and resolve our differences.

And this inability of ours to hold a meaningful dialogue and to arrive at a mutually agreeable conclusion or solution is driving our Church closer and closer to the brink of disintegration. At this time, it may be well to observe other nations which are able to maintain their unity throughout thousands of years and thus survive as autonomous entities. Not too long ago the Chinese celebrated their 4672nd year and the Jews their 5734th. To a large degree, these nations owe their survival to their adherence to traditions which preserve their unity as a people. The Jews have survived in the world because they kept to their synagogues and because they have never ceased in instructing their young. The Jews maintain their unity by instructing their young people in three languages: the language of the country in which they live, Yiddish, and Hebrew. In this manner they are able to achieve real unity in diversity.

The Jews are never tired of too much learning. We Ukrainians, however, always seem to disregard our native tongue and to treat it ourselves as a second class language. Similarly, we tend to view our religious practices as matters which can be subjugated and subordinated to convenience and time-saving, and we do not realize that by doing so we destroy our Church. If the Ukrainians all over the world were to incorporate the language of the country in which they live into our Divine Liturgy, then all of our eparchies would soon come under Latin jurisdiction and the Church of our forebears would soon disappear from the face of the earth.

The problem of liturgical language requires a great deal of reflection and reasoning from all of us. It is a problem which must be solved if our Church is to survive.

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The Executive Board of the Society for the Patriarchal System in the Ukrainian Catholic Church sent His Eminence Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty on February 8, 1974, the following letter. The letter was occasioned by the Vatican announcement that Cardinal Mindszenty had been removed from his office as Primate of Hungary.

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His Eminence Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty

Archbishop of Esztergom

Primate of Hungary Vienna, Austria

Your Eminence:

We the Ukrainian Catholics organized in the Society for a Patriarchate in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, fully cognizant of the differences which have separated our two nations in the past, wish at this time to communicate to Your Eminence our most sincere expression of Christian love and admiration. In these, the most difficult times for Your Eminence and. indeed for the entire Catholic Church, we wish to assure Your Eminence of our prayer and our moral support. We shall pray to the Almighty that He may keep Your Eminence in good health and provide Your Eminence with all the strength needed to continue Your work on behalf of the integrity and spiritual well-being of the Catholic Church.

We ask Your Eminence for Your Archiepiscopal blessings and offer our sincere expressions of filial devotion.

Myroslaw Nawrockyj, M.D. President
Leonid Rudnytzky, Ph.D. Secretary

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