FrankenPope kowtows to Russian Orthodox

FrankenPope kowtows to Russian Orthodox

[He meets with the Russo-Orthodox mouthpiece (who previously said “Unity with Catholics impossible” unless …) and throws the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under the bus along with a Ukrainian Orthodox Church (independant of Moscow) seeking recognition from the Patriarch of Constantinople (titular head of the Orthodox Churches) and open to union with Rome via the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church! – AQ Tom]

by Vladimir Rozanskij – 6/2/18

In the meeting with a Russian delegation led by Hilarion, the pontiff came out against the creation of an Orthodox Patriarchate of Kyiv, autonomous from Moscow, a goal supported instead by Bartholomew I. The pontiff expressed veiled criticisms of the Greek Catholics, who should not meddle in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church. A new meeting between Francis and Kirill seems possible.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – The audience on Wednesday in Rome, in which Pope Francis met with the delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate, has generated positive impressions in Russia. In the conflict with the faction in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv) that seeks autonomy from the Patriarchate, the pontiff has openly supported the pro-Moscow faction.

Receiving the group of Russians led by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), at the end of a brotherly visit to the Italian Church, the Pope said: “In your presence, especially in front of you, dear brother, I would like once more to emphasise that the Catholic Church will never allow acts on its part to provoke divisions. We will not allow this; I do not want this. In Russia there is only one Patriarchate, yours, and we will not recognise any other.”

Francis’ remarks resonate solemn and meaningful, also because the question of “Ukrainian autocephaly” is causing a very serious crisis within the Orthodox world. The Ukrainian bishops most favorable to separation, such as the autonomous Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), but also many prelates of the jurisdiction linked to Moscow, are waiting for the Tomos of autocephaly that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Arhondonis) of Constantinople should pronounce this month in conjunction with the celebrations for the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus’ (988).

The position taken by Pope Francis seems to go against this possibility, counterbalancing the intentions attributed to Bartholomew, the universal “primate” of the Orthodox. What is more, in the audience with the Russians, the pope also reiterated in no uncertain terms that Uniatism cannot be considered an acceptable method to achieve ecclesiastical unity in view of today’s relations between Orthodox and Catholics. Instead, the pontiff noted that only brotherly dialogue is the path to greater unity.

The pontiff’s words also include a warning for Ukrainian Greek Catholics. “Catholic Churches should not meddle in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, especially for political reasons. This is my position, and the current position of the Holy See. Those who act differently do not submit to the Holy See,” the pontiff said in what sounds almost like an excommunication for those who disobey.

Just before he left for Rome, Metropolitan Hilarion, the right-hand man of Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow, spoke out against Ukrainian “Uniates”, who, in his view, are responsible for Kyiv’s attempt to achieve autocephaly, a goal supported by Ukrainian politicians and by President Poroshenko. According to Hilarion, ” the rhetoric associated with the project for the so-called one local Church in Ukraine is often associated with a group, that of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainians, led by Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. The latter continues to make statements in support of the project a single local Church, saying that the unity of this Church should be based on the successor of the Apostle Peter, that is the pope of Rome,” the Metropolitan told the NTV TV channel. Pope Francis’ words thus seem to be a direct response in support of Hilarion’s statement.

The Metropolitan also denied that the Patriarch of Moscow could join Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew in the celebrations for Saint Nicholas in Bari, set for early July. In light of the “Ukrainian question”, it is understandable that the Russian patriarch wants to avoid contact with his “big brother” Bartholomew, which the Russian press continues to describe, especially now, as the head of a marginal Greek Orthodox community in Turkey rather than the head of all Orthodox.

The controversy against the “Turkish Patriarch”, as Bartholomew is often referred to in Russian media, is nothing new in the relations between Russian and Greek Orthodox. Two years ago, this was underscored by the Russian refusal to participate in the first historic pan-Orthodox council in Crete, thus causing it to fail.

At the same time, Metropolitan Hilarion has let it be known that a new meeting between Francis and Kirill is on the contrary desirable and the Russians’ recent visit in Rome are making it ever closer and more probable. For now, there are no indications as to when or under what circumstances the meeting might take place. What is clear however is that it will happen on neutral ground, thus neither in Moscow nor in Rome.

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9 comments on “FrankenPope kowtows to Russian Orthodox

  1. FrankenPope’s throwing under the bus of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and a Ukrainian Orthodox Church open to union with Rome for a meeting (time and placed to be determined, if at all) with the Russo-Orthodox Patriarch reminds me of the following from “A Man for All Seasons”:
    /
    Cromwell, Henry VIII’s prosecutor, is trying to convict Thomas More of treason because he (More) refuses to accept the king’s title of Supreme Head of the Church. But Cromwell is struggling. More, using his great legal mind and choosing his words carefully, stymies the prosecution at every turn. In desperation, Cromwell plays the only card left–find someone who will lie.
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    That fellow is Richard Rich, a man whom More had befriended years before. Rich fabricates part of a conversation he had with More and, by doing so, dooms More to death.
    /
    As Rich is about to leave the room, More declares that he has one question to ask the “witness”: “That’s a chain of office you are wearing. May I see it? What’s this?”
    /
    The prosecutor declares, “Sir Richard is appointed Attorney-General for Wales.”
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    More replies: “For Wales? Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Wales!”

  2. This has been official Vatican policy since John XXIII. One more piece of hard evidence that the Revolution of 1962 was as schismatic as the Ortho rebellion 800 years ago.

  3. Lets please get historical accuracy. Since the early 1900’s and especially after the fall of AustrioHungary and the establishment of a resurrected Polish State, Ukrainian Catholics have been collaborating with Nazis, murdering Latin Rite Catholic Poles in their homes and also Lemki, in Western Ukraine during world war 2 and working for a racist Church for Ukrainians only, without Ruthenians and other slavs. I for one would be glad not to see Christ’s Mystical Body tainted with their violent nationalism and racism. Most Ukrainian Catholics see their “Catholicism” as a flag to distinguish themselves from Polish latin rites and Orthodox Russians. Its just a way to justify their division and separation from others. “Pope” Sviatolav” declares Gregory Palamas as a saint, when he us a heretic. Gregory the heretic taught we will not be resurrected into the Body of Christ, but only in the light of Jesus’s Transfiguration. Meanwhile, for all these racists’claim to piety they refuse to use Slavonic in their liturgy, precisely because it presumes that both the greek rite and Catholic Church need to be perceived not as a universal, but a national church.

  4. Reports exist of Ortho clerics being refused reception into the Catholic Church, being told, “No, that’s not necessary any more!” Those reports go back a number of years.
    /
    Objectively, how can any Catholic prelate “justify” such a grave injustice to anyone who sincerely seeks salvation within the ONE Church founded by Christ?
    /
    As well, and more generally, how can any Catholic accept the Revolution of 1962 as normative, obligatory, etc. when its own documents manifestly overturn not only the precise doctrines of the Church but its advocates deliberately bar heretics and schismatics from even joining the Church these revolutionary advocates allege they are authentically governing?
    /
    The Ortho / Rome issue is but one of so many situations resulting from a violent and wicked usurpation of control over the levers of ecclesial power, begun on October 11, 1962.

  5. Ghebreyesus, your post was made while I was preparing mine. I was not thinking of the local Ortho situation mentioned in the OP, specifically. I defer to your points since I am not an expert.
    /
    My concern rests with V2 and policies going back to its odious inception and only generally in re. all schismatic heretics trapped by both their patriarchs and, since 1962, Revolutionary popes.

  6. The Russians, actually, have little problem accepting Latin Rite Catholics. They consider the greek rite theirs, and the latin rite ours. Its the Ukrainians that would refuse a Latin Rite for their church, precisely because it is their Church and not the Pope of Rome’s. It suits their purposes. Statistics show between 100,000 to 300,000 Poles were murdered between the years 1943-1945 by Stefan Banderas’ terrorists. Civilians, not enemy troops in battle. This is called genocide. Against even the Geneva convention. The Catholic Church cannot be complacent in the face of these murders caused in its name. Give Bratislava, in Slovakia a Catholic Patriarchate, is necessary, but never to the Nazis.

    • [A very complicated and equally sad situation with Russians, Ukrainians and Poles involved in the slaughter and/or massive removal of each group by another for the purposes of “ethnic cleansing” and ideology (nationalism, fascism and Communism). The following article from the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU) helps to clarify the situation especially the relation between the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) founded by Stefan Bandera, who was imprisoned by the Germans and thus ignorant of and not involved in the decision and activities of the OUN’s slaughter of Poles.]
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      WAS THE [UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC (UGCC)] CHURCH A SOURCE OF FASCISM?
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      20 March 2012 | Andrew Sorokowski
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      According to one report, in his March 1 talk about Stepan Bandera at the German embassy in Kyiv, Polish-born German historian Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe placed special emphasis on the “active and direct participation of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in support of the OUN-UPA, precisely as a movement with a pro-fascist ideology.” He even called it “a source of Ukrainian fascism.” Could this be so?
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      We must first point out that this report was in Russian. Mr. Rossolinski-Liebe delivered his lecture in German, with a Ukrainian translator. Thus, his message may not have reached us intact. For one thing, while German and English have articles, Ukrainian and Russian do not; thus, he may have called the UGCC “a” source of fascism among many, or “the” single source. Since the latter idea is rather preposterous, we have reported his words in the first sense.
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      Second, we should note that two propositions are contained in the quoted statement: first, that the UGCC supported the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army; and second, that the Church was a source of “Ukrainian fascism.”
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      The scandal surrounding the 32-year-old scholar’s tour of Ukraine continues to provoke a lively internet discussion. The basic facts are as follows: Mr. Rossolinski-Liebe has completed a five or six-hundred page dissertation at the University of Hamburg titled “Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Fascist, 1909-2009.” His Ukrainian tour, sponsored by the German Embassy, the Heinrich Boll Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange Service, was to include talks at Lviv and Kyiv, and two at Dnipropetrovsk. One by one the appearances were cancelled, allegedly because of threats by the nationalist youth of the Svoboda political party. Finally, on March 1 he gave his lecture at the German Embassy in Kyiv, titled “Stepan Bandera: The Life and Reputation of a Revolutionary Nationalist, 1909-2009.” The event transpired without incident.
      /
      We will take the two propositions attributed to the speaker in reverse order. First, how was the Church a “source” of Ukrainian fascism? The speaker obviously had come to the conclusion that there was something that could be termed “Ukrainian fascism.” Although much of the controversy surrounding his talk revolved around that term — which could be understood as a term of abuse, a highly charged political category, or a neutral scholarly-historical classification — we will assume that by “Ukrainian fascism” he meant a local variant comparable to the Arrow Cross in Hungary, the Iron Guard in Romania, or the Ustashe in Croatia. Of course these comparisons are imperfect, as there was no Ukrainian state at the time. But assuming that some such phenomenon did exist, how was the UGCC a source of it?
      /
      Most likely, Mr. Rossolinski-Liebe was thinking of the fact that both Stepan Bandera and his close associate, Yaroslav Stetsko, were the sons of Greek-Catholic priests. This by itself, of course, proves nothing. Even if it turned out that a disproportionate number of Ukrainian nationalists were children of priests, this would make the Church a “source” of Ukrainian “fascism” in only the biological sense. In the world of political ideas, biology is neither here nor there. Nor is there any reason to believe that the typical upbringing of a priest’s son would incline him to fascism. If anything, such a political choice would amount to a rebellion against paternal authority. And indeed, the young nationalists of Bandera’s generation were rebels against the utopian idealism and political ineffectiveness of their parents. Does the revolt of sons against fathers implicate the latter in the political views of the former? The daughter of a Greek-Catholic priest became a well-known feminist. Do we attribute her feminism to her father?
      /
      Perhaps the speaker meant that the Church as an organization somehow gave birth to Ukrainian fascism. Alas, the evidence hardly supports such a contention. Metropolitan Sheptytsky repeatedly condemned the terrorist practices of the OUN. While he favored the creation of a legitimate, disciplined Ukrainian military force to protect the Ukrainian people, during World War II he spoke out against the recruitment and participation of Ukrainian youth in political killing, including the Holocaust. He protested to Himmler, wrote a pastoral letter entitled “Thou Shalt not Kill,” and wrote that German fascism was even worse than Soviet communism. Bishop Hryhorii Khomyshyn of Stanyslaviv was an even more ardent critic of the nationalist movement.
      /
      Has Mr. Rossolinski-Liebe discovered that despite the condemnation of fascism by the UGCC hierarchy, rank and file clergy supported it nonetheless? It is a question worth pursuing. Perhaps he has researched the problem in depth — though it would certainly be a departure from the topic of his dissertation, which after all is the figure of Stepan Bandera. We look forward to seeing his book.
      /
      The question of the UGCC as a “source” of fascism only makes sense in the realm of ideas. It would be difficult, however, to find anything in the theology of the Ukrainian Church that contributed significantly to the fascist ideology. Perhaps the speaker is joining those historians of ideas who believe that Christian theology is responsible for anti-semitism. Whatever the merits of that theory, the notion that any Christian Church was a significant source of fascist ideology is difficult to demonstrate. This is because there is a mountain of evidence on the ideological origins of fascism, and it can generally be traced to the philosophical rebellion against Christianity that began in the Enlightenment and culminated in the thinking of philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche. Much of this philosophy would have reached young Ukrainian nationalists through the popular press in Austrian Galicia. But the more obvious source of Ukrainian “fascism” is the thought of Dmytro Dontsov, a very influential political philosopher from Russian-dominated Eastern Ukraine who had no connections with the Greek-Catholic Church of Western Ukraine. Dontsov’s thought in turn drew on Fichte, Herder, and other nineteenth-century German thinkers (John A. Armstrong, “Ukrainian Nationalism,” 2nd ed., 1963, pp. 21-22). One would think that the young scholar from the University of Hamburg would have found the roots of “Ukrainian fascism” there, and not in the UGCC. But perhaps he has discovered something new.
      /
      As to the other question – whether the UGCC actively and directly supported the OUN and the UPA as a movement with a “pro-fascist ideology” – it, too, must be separated into its parts. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was founded in 1929 and split in 1940 into two wings, one of them headed by Stepan Bandera. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army was formed during the German occupation in 1941-42 and represented a spectrum of Ukrainian nationalist forces. Probably the closest that the UGCC came to “supporting” the OUN was when Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky endorsed the abortive OUN-sponsored formation of a Ukrainian government in Lviv on 30 June 1941. But his condemnations of OUN terrorism mentioned above, and the well-known friction between his Church and the young radical nationalists, give the lie to such an interpretation. As early as May 1933, the OUN opposed the Ukrainian Catholic “Youth for Christ” rally in Lviv because of its accommodationist stance towards the Polish authorities. To be sure, individual Greek-Catholic priests like Rev. Vasyl Laba and Rev. Ivan Hrynioch supported the nationalist movement. There was a solid Catholic argument for Ukrainians’ right to rule themselves in an independent state, which many of the clergy supported under the rubric of Christian nationalism. But this is still a long way from supporting a secular movement that sought to supplant the Decalogue with its own Nationalist version. As for the UPA, it appears that Metropolitan Sheptytsky preferred the order and discipline of a well-trained regular army to the ethically questionable tactics of irregular formations (Andrii Krawchuk, “Christian Social Ethics in Ukraine,” 1997, p. 267, quoting Bohdan Budurowicz). It would be interesting to see what evidence Mr. Rossolinski-Liebe has uncovered to demonstrate that “the Church” supported the UPA.
      /
      It seems unlikely that the UGCC supported the OUN and the UPA “precisely as a movement with a pro-fascist ideology.” The contradictions between Christianity and Ukrainian nationalist ideology (whether one characterizes it as “fascist,” “ultra-nationalist,” “integral nationalist,” or by some other term) were simply too great (see Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 37-38). And rather than being creatures of the Church, this ideology, and the movement that it inspired, were more likely symptomatic of the decline of its influence in an age of mass politics and secularization.

  7. I understand the article and discussion is focused on certain concerns in support of tradition. But what I said needed to be said. My 58 year old grandmother was murdered in her house in 1944 by these monsters. My grandfather was killed outside the house hiding from them in a nearby Polish monastery.

  8. My deepest sympathies.

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