This is both a blessed and difficult time for me as a Ukrainian Catholic. I feel the overwhelming victory of my Lord and Saviour. This is a victory also for my deeply Christian Ukrainian people. Easter for me is a time of joy. The Ukrainian people have resurrected many times.
Yet, I feel that there are missing or even offensive components in the Catholic Church, and not only in Rome. My own bishops are silent about rhetoric and events on the Roman Catholic end which are so not Christian. The Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch has voiced some dismay albeit a bit late. What does a Ukrainian Catholic feel? He has to be overwhelmed, because his Church appears to have left him alone at a most trying time because he has been designated by the Pope’s Christian collaborators, the Stalinist Moscow religious aberration to be “wiped off the face of the earth”.
Pope Francis just provided Ukrainians with yet another reason to believe that someone other than a representative of God sits in the Vatican. What does a Russian-Ukrainian joint effort at simulating Christ’s suffering mean? Granted the Pope forewarned. The Ukrainian Patriarch reacted with dismay. Nonetheless, the circus went on in somewhat subdued fashion. How insensitive was that particularly after opprobrium from Ukraine?
There is a deeper, more informative yet less informed message. The Roman Catholic Church simply is not the Church of Ukrainian Catholics. The Church neither knows our history, nor does it care. In a recent article of the National Catholic Register , under the title of Ecclesial Earthquake, Universal Church, Led by Pope Francis, Prays for Conversion of Humanity, one Father Raymond J. de Souza, offered a reasoning for the recent joint albeit disparate consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary of both Ukrainians and Russians. Some of the absurdities the learned Father offered were are follows:
“Russia is the de facto home of global Orthodoxy.”
Response: Global Orthodox Christianity was based originally and today in Constantinople, today Istanbul. Feeding into Russian propaganda about being the Third Rome is simply enabling Russian disinformation..
“If the Eastern lung of the Church is the Greek Orthodox tradition, its modern tongue is often Russian.”
Response: For the longest time the language used was Church Slavonic. Neither Greeks, Serbs nor most Ukrainian Orthodox observe in Russian.
“The patriarch of Moscow, a man of great culture…”
Response: Kirill is a thug, a former KGB and now an FSB agent. His relationship with religion is strictly political. He is a surrogate for the Kremlin. There is no culture great or minor in this man except a culture of killing.
“half of all Orthodox believers are Russian”
Response: The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has more parishes and, probably more faithful than the Moscow church. Consider Greeks, Serbs, Belarusans and others. In fact less than 20% of Orthodox believers may be Russian and even that is a stretch.
“In 1988, John Paul wished to commemorate the millennium of the baptism of Kyivan Rus. John Paul showed his esteem for his brother Slavs to the East by sending a delegation to Moscow…”
Response: Pope John Paul is a deeply flawed Saint (in any event, sainthood is entirely political) as he was a deeply flawed individual and Pope. Moscow had no relationship with the 988 event. When Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv baptised the people of the Kyivan state there was no Russia, there was no Moscow. Pope John Paul was somewhat less than Christian in his relationship with Ukrainian Catholics. His mother was Ukrainian. But he chose a Polish chauvinistic position. Sure he came to Ukraine, but he was unable or unwilling to return the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral to the Ukrainian Catholics in Przemysl. It remains the property to this date of the chauvinist Polish Catholic Carmelites. Furthermore, he perpetuated the Polish denigration of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptycky considered by Polish Catholic chauvinists to have been a traitor to the Poles and thus not worthy of elevation to Sainthood.
“Prayers for Russia thus include the purification of the Moscow Patriarchate, so that Russia may again offer the spiritual gifts without which the Church universal is not fully complete.”
Response: Russia has never offered spiritual gifts. I am aware of no such gifts. I would suggest that the burden is on Fr, de Souza to find one for his own peace of mind, lest he be completely discredited. I in turn can offer numerous events where the Russian Church has been involved in the liquidation of both Ukrainian Catholicism and Ukrainian Christian Orthodoxy as recently as today.
There is so much more negativity that is attributable to the Roman Catholic Church. However, it’s Easter. My faith in the Resurrection of Our Lord is very much alive. My Catholic religion, not so much!
April 16, 2022 Askold S. Lozynskyj