Rorate Caeli

Rome upholds the excommunication of the "Pidhirtsi Fathers"

The Apostolic Signatura has refused to review the excommunication of the four Ukrainian priests who had been consecrated as bishops -- without being proposed as bishops by the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and without the requisite papal blessing -- last March. According to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, the Apostolic Signatura's response to the four bishops stated that “…Having seen your instances to the Holy Father and the Major Archiepiscopal Tribunal enclosed with your letter, this Apostolic Signatura does not see any reason for it to intervene in this matter.”

The four priests -- Basilian hieromonks Elijah A. Dohnal, Methodius R. Shpirzhyk, Markian V. Hitiuk, and the priest Robert Oberhauser -- had been consecrated as bishops shortly before March 23 of this year. They are popularly called the "Pidhirtsi Fathers". As reported on this blog, the consecration of the four had been denounced on March 23 by Lubomyr Cardinal Husar of the UGCC. Given the conflicting reports at the time and the anonymity of the alleged consecrator, Cardinal Husar had simply declared that the four were excommunicated if indeed they had been consecrated bishops.

Interestingly, the head of the UGCC cited the absence of the Pope's blessing as one of the reasons for excommunicating of the four. Lubomyr Cardinal Husar was himself consecrated a bishop without a papal blessing by the late Josef Cardinal Slipyj, the then-Major Archbishop of the UGCC, in 1977. Rome recognized him only in 1996.

In June and again in August, two canonical trials were held for the Pidhirtsi Fathers. The first one, before the Collective Tribunal of the Eparchies of Sokal and Zhovkva Eparchies, sentenced the four to excommunication. This sentence was then upheld in the second trial, which was held before the Tribunal of the Supreme Archbishop of the UGCC, Lubomyr Husar. It was from this sentence that the Pidhirtsi Fathers had appealed to the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.

In addition to the trials, there have been severe controversies between the followers of the four bishops and the UGCC hierarchy, with attempts by the former to take over the administrative buildings of an UGCC eparchy. (See also this article.)

Supporters of the four bishops contend that they had been consecrated as part of a long-running movement in the UGCC against the alleged modernism, hyper-ecumenism, de-Latinizing and pro-Orthodox leanings of the current UGCC Hierarchy. With Rome upholding the excommunications, this now becomes the second split from the UGCC in just one year over the question of the UGCC's de-Latinization and alleged "modernism". The first had been that of Fr. Basil Kovpak and the Society of St. Josaphat (associated with the SSPX) that culminated in the excommunication of Fr. Kovpak late in November last year. (It should be noted, though, that the Pidhirtsi Fathers are not associated with either the SSJK or the SSPX)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This excommunication can be doubtful, since the Apostolic Signatura does not say that they confirm the excommunication, but that it comes not under her juridiction. Indeed, the appeal of the four illegal bishops has been made to the Pope himself.

On their website:
http://www.community.org.ua/letters.html
the bishops accuse cardinal Husar (who deserved to be excommunicated since his own illegal and schismatical consecration, the irregularity of which has been withdrawn by papal decision) of having deformed the meaning of the text.

Michael said...

Major Archbishop Lobomyr Cardinal Husar's episcopal consecration has no relation to these four illegal consecrations. Father Husar was ordained by Patriarch Joseph during the Communist persecution of the Church - when the Church was forced underground. Patriarch Joseph had authority to ordain priests and bishops for the purpose of making sure the UGCC didn't disappear. The Holy Synod of the UGCC was not deliberately excluded as in this case.

The answer by the Vatican shows that a sui iurus Catholic Church with her Hierarch and Synod are the lawful authority, not those who act to circumvent that authority.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Michael:

I think it is obvious from my post that there is indeed a major difference between the Husar and the Pidhirtsi consecrations. Cardinal Husar, despite the absence of the papal blessing, was indeed appointed by the head of the UGCC, something that cannot be said of the Pidhirtsi Fathers.

Anyway, to avoid further accusations that I am anti-UGCC (a ridiculous accusation), I am incorporating some clarificatory remarks into the OP.

Anonymous said...

I thought that vatican 2 wanted the Eastern Catholic churches to recover their ancient eastern practices? That seems to me to be a very orthodox move on the eastern catholic side. Get rid of the latinization in the eastern churches.

stanislas wojtiech, Stanislawów, modern Ukraine said...

This proves the crisis is on dogmatics and theology (doctrine rather), not about forms of the liturgy alone.

These Basilian non-approved bishops were not opponents of Delatinization (nor was Fr. Kovpak originally), but of hyper-ecumenism, neo-modernism and betrayal of the Catholic dogmas.

The Apostolic Signatura does not judge.

But that does not mean the excommunication (not latae sententiae under Eastern Code of Canon Law) was valid or upheld.

Will Cardinal Husar also admit he worked and absolved invalidly juridically from 1976 until 1996 among Catholic Byzantine Ukrainians in CAnada and the USA?

Cardinal Slipyj, despite his saintly testimony, could not unilaterally appoint bishops and consecrate them for the Ukrainian Catholic eparchies in non-communist countries! Husar was ordained for the USA, not for an underground apostolate in the Ukraine à la d'Herbigny SJ! Surely not.

That is why Husar's illicit episcopal consecration in 1976 - which greatly irritated pope Paul VI and was denounced - remains controversial. He was only recognized in 1996.

He never worked in the martyrs' underground UGCC during Communist tyranny.

Husar was in the West. Safe and well.

Anyway, it is weird that Husar is now a cardinal, but that numerous (validly consecrated) ethnic Czech (Latin Rite) bishops consecrated and ordained in secrecy under the Czechoslovak communist rule (1949-1989) are not recognized. Some are recognized, but ostracized, like bishop Jan Blahá (consecrated in 1967).

While these Ukrainian consecrations are valid and probably not excommunicable, I have not seen systematical position from the Basilian rebels. They are not associated with the SSPX or SSJK in Lwów.

They see no emergency crisis in Rome after the 2nd Vatican Council. Why do they not take recourse to good "wandering" Latin bishops then?

Even the St. Josaphat Society of Rev. Fr. Kovpak accepts the Holy Orders from the SSPX auxiliary sacramental bishops in the (traditional) Roman Rite.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Not every "latinization" is illegitimate. Some of the "de-latinizing" moves include the removal of Stations of the Cross and the discouraging of the Rosary. These practices may have originated in the Latin church, but that does not make them wrong or evil. If Latin Catholics are supposed to "breathe with both lungs of the Church" (i.e. be edified by the East), then Eastern Catholics ought to keep what good came from latinization.

I hear that some de-latinizers in the West also want to get rid of Eucharistic devotions that arose in the West. It's not the fault of the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and certain Eucharistic devotions that they arose in the East and not in the West.

-- Tobias

Michael said...

Tobias,

The Rosary and Stations as private devotions are allowed to all Catholics - and even non-Catholics... but these devotions should never usurp authentic Eastern practices, which they tend to do since one can't pray the Traditional prayers for Lent and pray the Stations at the same time, for example.

These Basilian non-approved bishops were not opponents of Delatinization (nor was Fr. Kovpak originally), but of hyper-ecumenism, neo-modernism and betrayal of the Catholic dogmas. Don't be ridiculous, hyper-ecumenism from the Eastern Churches?? Cardinal Kasper sits around with Anglicans and Lutherans with all kinds of oddities and the Easterners are accused of "hyper-ecumenism" when trying to maintain a semble of friendliness with their sister Church (a real sister and a real Church, unlike the Anglicans and Lutherans)? "Catholic dogma" is not solely the Latin expression of dogma, which is what "latinisation" is all about - replacing authentic Eastern expressions of the Universal Catholic Faith for Latin expressions - there is no reason for that, the different Eastern expressions of Faith are just as valid as the Latin one.

As to Cardinal Husar's 1977 episcopal consecration - "He was consecrated a bishop in 1977 in the Castel Gandolfo chapel by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj without the papal permission (apostolic mandate) in an act which caused many irritations in the Roman Curia,[1] as Roman canon law required papal permission for the consecration of a bishop, but at that time Eastern canon law did not." Why then would his episcopal jurisdiction be in question? Besides, in 1977 Archimandrite Lobomyr was appointed abbot of a Eastern monastery based in Europe and America - where was he supposed to exercise his jurisdiction?

Anonymous said...

"I hear that some de-latinizers in the West also want to get rid of Eucharistic devotions that arose in the West. It's not the fault of the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and certain Eucharistic devotions that they arose in the East and not in the West."

Ugh again. "de-latinizers in the EAST,etc." "arose in the WEST and not in the EAST."

Michael,

The Stations of the Cross are not merely private. They are part of church architecture. Some de-latinizers apparently are removing them from churches or are refusing to permit them to be placed in churches.

It's a question of discouragement. You can encourage traditional Eastern practices without discouraging the Stations,the Rosary, etc. At some point the Stations, the Rosary, Benediction, etc., became part of the tradition of the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Rites. Trying to erase that is just as artificial as trying to erase existing Eastern practices. It makes as much sense as discouraging Latin Catholics from venerating Byzantine-style icons because they "ought" to be venerating statuettes instead.

What do you mean when you say that you cannot say the Lenten prayers and the Stations at the same time? Obviously not at the same moment in time. But do you mean that the spiritualities are in conflict somehow? ~Tobias

Anonymous said...

"Don't be ridiculous, hyper-ecumenism from the Eastern Churches?? Cardinal Kasper sits around with Anglicans and Lutherans with all kinds of oddities and the Easterners are accused of "hyper-ecumenism" when trying to maintain a semble of friendliness with their sister Church (a real sister and a real Church, unlike the Anglicans and Lutherans)? "Catholic dogma" is not solely the Latin expression of dogma, which is what "latinisation" is all about - replacing authentic Eastern expressions of the Universal Catholic Faith for Latin expressions - there is no reason for that, the different Eastern expressions of Faith are just as valid as the Latin one. "

Michael, your tone really worries me. I don't understand why you even bring up Kaspar. No one here said that he was good. So this false dichotomy "Easterners=hyper ecumenists, Latins=okay" is a straw man -- to my knowledge, no one claims it.

Next, who said anything about the invalidity of Eastern theology or Eastern expressions of Faith. The accusation is one of neo-modernism and of betraying Catholic dogmas. This accusation is either true or false -- I don't know. But there is no reason on the basis of the accusation alone to allege that the accuser has a Latin bias. The heresy of Modernism was condemned for everyone, East and West. If an Easterner affirms one of the condemned tenets, then he's guilty, period, same as with a Latin. There is no ethnic prejudice with a universally-binding anathema. Same with the Faith -- whether you're using Latin or Greek phraseology, they're either innocent or guilty. What is your reason for thinking that the Basilians in question are unjustly condemning legitimate Eastern expression of the one true Catholi Faith? ~Tobias

Perfectior said...

Dear Michael,

Stanislas Wojtiech has reason on a lot of points.

1° How do you prove that Latin practises prevented Eastern Catholics from performing their specifical Lent prayers? If this negligence had been real under some CLERGY MEN, it would be simply corrected, but it is not necessary to take away from the churches the Via crucis, since the faithful who are not clerics are not bound by the recitation of any liturgical prayer, even in the Lent, excepted attendance at Mass. No Eastern Catholic is disturbed when a Latin comes and attends each Sunday an Oriental Mass, or when a Latin recitates the Acathist hymn (in privacy or in an Eastern-rite chapel). Why cannot Eastern people use Occidental prayers in private devotions? Is the genuflection at the consecration words at Mass or at the communion rail not a happy “latinization” in Oriental rites? These legitimate “latinizations” were removed, prohibited, condemned by the same Eastern prelates who have adopted what I call “modern latinizations” (the use of only vernacular languages in liturgy, the simplification of the ceremonial and the shortening of the Mass, the shortening of the fast before communion, the reduction of fast days,…).

2° Eastern expressions of Faith are legitime as far as they do not contradict the dogmas defined by the Roman Pontiffs; the problem is that Eastern Catholic bishops (in Ukraine but also in Syria, …) attenuate in such a way the Catholic doctrine (to please the Orthodox schismatics) that there is a false oecumenism (accompanied by neo-modernism); I have heard many Melchite priests (I am myself a Melchite Lebanese) saying that the Vatican erred by defining the papal infallibility in 1870, that the original sin or the Immaculate Conception are not mandatory articles of faith,… ; the biggest error is the congress of Balamand (which was never explicitly approved by the Popes) in which it was stated (by Cardinal Kasper and by Eastern-Catholic prelates) that uniatism (that means the restoration of Eastern-rite Catholics Eparchies for Eastern Christians who wanted to keep their rites and to renounce the separation from the Chair of Peter) was a condemnable method (it is pure heretical teaching, because it contradicts the dogmas of Florence, Lateran V, Vatican I (repeated in Vatican II), and because it judges the conduct of former Popes).
Schismatic churches are material churches, but have lost all legitimacy because of schism and because they accused the Roman Church of heresy. They have maybe kept valid Orders, but he apostolic succession is broken by schism.

3° The Signatura did not say that the excommunication is valid (nor invalid), but that the affair does not depend of her competence : “Having seen your instances to the Holy Father and the Major Archiepiscopal Tribunal enclosed with your letter, this Apostolic Signatura does not see any reason for IT to intervene in this matter.” Does the IT refer to the Signatura or to the Ukrainian Archiepiscopal Tribunal? Anyway I do not see any definitive decision; of course, an explicit decision would hurt the modern ecumenism with non-catholics since all their ordinations are made without papal mandate.

4° The modern Code for Oriental Churches did not exist at the time of the consecration of Husar; and it is worth to notice that the decree of Pius XII of 1951 prohibited, under pain of excommunication, the consecration of bishops without direct papal mandate even in places where it was granted before (in Eastern churches and in the dioceses suffragan of the Archbishop-Primate of Salzburg, Austria). At that time Cardinal Slipyj had not the power to consecrate bishops.
The consecration of Husar was made in papal territory by Cardinal Slipyj who wanted to protest against the fact that Paul VI did not raise him to the dignity of patriarch, because of the new Vatican policy towards communism and orthodox churches ; the Vatican Annuary did not recognize Husar till his regularization.

HOWEVER, I agree with you on the following point: no reason, no necessity can legitimate the rebellion against the divine authority of the Roman Pontiff (whose decrees are always valid) nor the reception of orders without canonical forms (either without papal mandate or from interdicted bishops); however, I would ask for more mildness for these traditionalists for many reasons.

(I am the anonymous author of the first comment, I have not said that the consecration of Husar was linked to that of the Pidhirtsi bishops, but that it is strange that a once illegitimate bishop, consecrated against papal mandate, accuses now priests of having received episcopate without papal authority).

Jordanes said...

Schismatic churches are material churches, but have lost all legitimacy because of schism and because they accused the Roman Church of heresy. They have maybe kept valid Orders, but he apostolic succession is broken by schism.

Only in terms of jurisdiction. The Church recognises that the schismatic Orthodox have valid, unbroken apostolic succession.

Stanislas Wojtiech, Stanislawów (UKR) said...

Apostolic succession is made up out of three elements: (1) valid Holy Orders, (2) the Catholic doctrine (inviolate), (3) ordinary jurisdiction (appointment to a see by the pope or competent delegated authority).

If one of these three elements is missing, there may be the case of valid Holy Orders, but not of apostolic succession in the strict sense.

Jordanes said...

In the "strict sense," then, the Catholic Church today and at various times in her history lacks or lacked apostolic succession.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes,

Even if those three requirements are not all necessary for apostolic succession in the strictest sense, the Church nonetheless has always had all three.

1.) There have always been valid Holy Orders.

2.) The Faith has never perished.

3.) I assume this is the problematic one, in your opinion. Note -- "appointment to a see by the pope or competent delegated authority." Note the "or." For centuries in various circumstances the local canonry or clergy or the local Patriarch was the competent delegated authority. I think it's fair to say that they were "delegated" insofar as there is no intrinsic "right" of a canonry or a local church or a patriarchate (patriarchates are not part of the divine constitution of the Church, they are a traditional convention that can be done away with) to appoint bishops. Were a Pope to disagree with any of these lesser authorities, his authority would trump theirs.

Maybe you dispute "ordinary" vs. "extraordinary" jurisdiction? Well even extraordinary jurisdiction must be justified on the basis of certian rules. It's not extraordinary in every sense of the term, but just an application of the law to an unusual circumstance.

So whether all three really go to "apostolic succession in the strictest sense," the Church has never lacked any of these three criteria. ~Tobias

Jordanes said...

No, Tobias, actually I was referring to the second point, the faith being held inviolate. I would think that, in the "strictest" sense, there may have even been popes who did not personally hold the faith inviolate. It also seems that quite a lot of traditionalists believe the Church does not currently hold the faith inviolate, which would naturally lead to the conclusion that apostolic succession has been broken. But I can only note that even though the schismatic do not hold the faith inviolate, the Church has always acknowledged and still acknowledges them as possessing valid apostolic succession. How can that be if lack of inviolate Catholic doctrine means there is not apostolic succession in the strict sense? Perhaps I am not understanding Stanislas Wojtiech's point, and he can try to clear up my confusion.

Michael said...

1° How do you prove that Latin practises prevented Eastern Catholics from performing their specifical Lent prayers?

History proves this, where latinisation has occured: Greek, Syriac, Armenian (etc.) devotions have been replaced for Latin devotions - nothing wrong with Latin devotions in and of themselves, but Eastern devotions need not be replaced.

If this negligence had been real under some CLERGY MEN, it would be simply corrected, but it is not necessary to take away from the churches the Via crucis, since the faithful who are not clerics are not bound by the recitation of any liturgical prayer, even in the Lent, excepted attendance at Mass.

The faithful are "bound" to their sui iurus Church and Her venerable Traditions. Whether those Traditions are the Divine Liturgy or quasi-Liturgical prayers like Matins or Vespers - Latin devotions should not replace them. Any private devotion CAN be prayed by anyone, but QUASI-Liturgical prayers, such as the public celebration of Matins, should not be done away with (whether intentionally nor unintentionally, such as scheduling a quasi-Liturgical Rosary or Divine Mercy prayer during the time Vespers, Matins, or another Eastern Prayer should be prayed.

No Eastern Catholic is disturbed when a Latin comes and attends each Sunday an Oriental Mass, or when a Latin recitates the Acathist hymn (in privacy or in an Eastern-rite chapel).

We are not referring to private moments here - we are referring to public and semi-public celebrations. I would think that a Latin would be "disturbed" should a priest replace the Latin Feast of the Solemnity of Mary [Jan 1] in the Latin Church with the Syriac Feast of the Naming of our Lord in the Temple [Jan 1].

Why cannot Eastern people use Occidental prayers in private devotions?

They can and do - myself included.

Is the genuflection at the consecration words at Mass or at the communion rail not a happy “latinization” in Oriental rites?

No they are not. And I have never seen either, thank God. In the East, standing and bowing in reverence are signs of respect. Genuflection does not have legitimate continuity of Tradition in the East. The sign has authentic continuity in the West, dating back to the practice of genuflecting to royalty.

These legitimate “latinizations” were removed, prohibited, condemned by the same Eastern prelates who have adopted what I call “modern latinizations” (the use of only vernacular languages in liturgy, the simplification of the ceremonial and the shortening of the Mass, the shortening of the fast before communion, the reduction of fast days,…).

Vernacular Languages were always used in varying Eastern Churches - but not exclusively, most also use their Patristic language [Greek, Slavonic, Armenian, Syriac, etc].

2° Eastern expressions of Faith are legitime as far as they do not contradict the dogmas defined by the Roman Pontiffs

None do. Firstly, the Roman Pontiff doesn't go around defining dogma daily. Eastern [Catholic] expressions of Faith in no way contradict Catholic dogma (I've actually seen Western translations from Latin into the vernacular contradict dogma more than anything I've seen from the East)

; the problem is that Eastern Catholic bishops (in Ukraine but also in Syria, …) attenuate in such a way the Catholic doctrine (to please the Orthodox schismatics) that there is a false oecumenism (accompanied by neo-modernism);

So the rumour goes, but I have yet to see it in practice. On the other hand, there is open rebellion in some Western dioceses from clergy and episcopate and nothing was done for decades [But thank God for Pope Benedict, he's cleaning this up meticulously].

I have heard many Melchite priests (I am myself a Melchite Lebanese) saying that the Vatican erred by defining the papal infallibility in 1870,

Erred in what way? It is not wrong to think that the Vatican erred in prudence in relation to the East.

that the original sin or the Immaculate Conception are not mandatory articles of faith,… ;

Original sin and the IC are expressed differently in the East, but are never denied in the way it seems you are saying.

the biggest error is the congress of Balamand (which was never explicitly approved by the Popes) in which it was stated (by Cardinal Kasper and by Eastern-Catholic prelates) that uniatism (that means the restoration of Eastern-rite Catholics Eparchies for Eastern Christians who wanted to keep their rites and to renounce the separation from the Chair of Peter) was a condemnable method (it is pure heretical teaching, because it contradicts the dogmas of Florence, Lateran V, Vatican I (repeated in Vatican II), and because it judges the conduct of former Popes).

What of it? It is not heresy to judge the political actions of Popes. Was it proper for the then leadership to divide the faithful from one Church to the other solely because a king or queen were sympathetic to Catholicism or Orthodoxy, sometimes even when the royals were playing politics to gain land or property?

Schismatic churches are material churches, but have lost all legitimacy because of schism and because they accused the Roman Church of heresy.

I've not read this opinion in Canon Law.

They have maybe kept valid Orders, but he apostolic succession is broken by schism.

Not according to Latin views on validity. Normally Succession remains, even if "illicit".

3° The Signatura did not say that the excommunication is valid (nor invalid), but that the affair does not depend of her competence : “Having seen your instances to the Holy Father and the Major Archiepiscopal Tribunal enclosed with your letter, this Apostolic Signatura does not see any reason for IT to intervene in this matter.” Does the IT refer to the Signatura or to the Ukrainian Archiepiscopal Tribunal? Anyway I do not see any definitive decision;

Seeing as how the non-intervention of the Signatura gives the judicial authority to the Major Archiepiscopal Synod, the decision goes against the schismatics.

of course, an explicit decision would hurt the modern ecumenism with non-catholics since all their ordinations are made without papal mandate.

It would not because as it stands, Catholics are bound by the Papal authority - non-Catholics may or may not be. One cannot claim to be Catholic and then willfully and explicitly reject papal primatial authority [there are other distinctions in the case of Patriarchal and certain Major Archiepiscopal Churches]

4° The modern Code for Oriental Churches did not exist at the time of the consecration of Husar; and it is worth to notice that the decree of Pius XII of 1951 prohibited, under pain of excommunication, the consecration of bishops without direct papal mandate even in places where it was granted before (in Eastern churches and in the dioceses suffragan of the Archbishop-Primate of Salzburg, Austria). At that time Cardinal Slipyj had not the power to consecrate bishops.
The consecration of Husar was made in papal territory by Cardinal Slipyj who wanted to protest against the fact that Paul VI did not raise him to the dignity of patriarch, because of the new Vatican policy towards communism and orthodox churches ; the Vatican Annuary did not recognize Husar till his regularization.


The Catholic faithful, clergy, and hierarchy, however, did. The territory and authority to ordain can be questioned and debated forever, but the fact remains that no one ever stated that Cardinal Joseph was ever excommunicated or outside the Church, nor was Bishop Lobomyr - unlike those mentioned above.

HOWEVER, I agree with you on the following point: no reason, no necessity can legitimate the rebellion against the divine authority of the Roman Pontiff (whose decrees are always valid) nor the reception of orders without canonical forms (either without papal mandate or from interdicted bishops); however, I would ask for more mildness for these traditionalists for many reasons.

It's strange that these so-called "traditionalists" are not as Traditional as they claim to be - neither in the rites they refuse to return to their proper Tradition nor in their understanding of the Church.

...but that it is strange that a once illegitimate bishop, consecrated against papal mandate, accuses now priests of having received episcopate without papal authority).

Again, Bishop Loboymr was not consecrated AGAINST papal mandate. There is a vast difference between going against the authority of the Pope, such as Bishop Lefebvre's deliberate denial of the Pope's wishes, in comparison to ordaining as a Patriarch would - not needing Papal mandate, just not outright rejection (just as one would hope the Pope would not ordain someone whom one or more of the Patriarchs were completely against).

Perfectior said...

Dear Jordanes,

When the present Popes speak about apostolic succession in separate communities, they do speak only (if one weighs the context and implicit language) about the valid Orders (which are like the matter of the Church) but not about the jurisdiction or faith (which are like the form of the Church, to make an analogy to the Sacraments). Indeed, last year (June 2007), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in her “Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church”, at the following question:
“Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term “Church” in reference to the separated oriental Churches?”
gives the answer:
“Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist”, which shows that only the valid Orders are considered by the words “apostolic succession”. Indeed, the text adds:
“However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something (it would be better translated from the latin text: “are marked by a defect”) in their condition as particular churches”, which shows the defect of jurisdiction.
And the official commentary on the Vatican website explains how this proceeds from a dogmatic defect: “Contrary to many unfounded interpretations, therefore, the change from “est” to “subsistit” does not signify that the Catholic Church has ceased to regard herself as the one true Church of Christ”
and, directly about Eastern schismatics:
“Despite this unequivocal recognition of their “being particular Churches” and of their salvific value, the document could not ignore the wound (defectus) which they suffer specifically in their being particular Churches. For it is because of their Eucharistic vision of the Church, which stresses the reality of the particular Church united in the name of Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist and under the guidance of a Bishop, that they consider themselves complete in their particularity. Consequently, given the fundamental equality among all the particular Churches and among the Bishops which preside over them, they each claim a certain internal autonomy. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE DOCTRINE OF PRIMACY which, according to the Catholic faith, is an “internal constitutive principle” of the very existence of a particular Church.”

There is no Pope in history that formally defected from the true faith, neither officially (that means as Pope) taught a false doctrine; true traditionalists must admit that the modern-minded texts since Vatican II are not formally heretical (there is always a way to an interpretation according to the Traditional sense) but they have the right to accuse them of being intended-ly formulated in a relaxed, and therefore scandalous and nocive, way. (I speak only about texts signed directly by the Pope; texts signed by cardinals are not infallible, since Popes cannot delegate their infallibility). If you have a specific example of doubt about the orthodoxy of some Pope, please give it and I will be pleased to explain you why it is wrong.

Perfectior said...

Dear Michael,

In charity, I feel obliged to answer you again. I hope my words not to be too hard, but to be sincere is to be regarding someone with high esteem.

1° You said: “History proves this, where latinisation has occurred: Greek, Syriac, Armenian (etc.) devotions have been replaced for Latin devotions - nothing wrong with Latin devotions in and of themselves, but Eastern devotions need not be replaced.”
All what is necessary to the Church will always be kept; if something disappears, it can be the will of Providence: several occidental liturgies, even Roman uses, have disappeared or were modified. Latin devotions are always surer, because they are approved by the Pope; Roman liturgy has no precedence over other liturgies, but had higher doctrinal authority before the revision of Eastern liturgical books by the Holy See, since it was the only one approved by the Pope himself.

2° You said: “The faithful are "bound" to their sui iurus Church and Her venerable Traditions. Whether those Traditions are the Divine Liturgy or quasi-Liturgical prayers like Matins or Vespers - Latin devotions should not replace them. Any private devotion CAN be prayed by anyone, but QUASI-Liturgical prayers, such as the public celebration of Matins, should not be done away with (whether intentionally nor unintentionally, such as scheduling a quasi-Liturgical Rosary or Divine Mercy prayer during the time Vespers, Matins, or another Eastern Prayer should be prayed).”
Abuses can and must be corrected, in such a way that private devotions do not replace liturgical prayers of one’s own rite, all rites being jewels for the Church. You speak about an abuse, it is not the consequence of using Latin devotions; and why to remove the Cross Stations from the churches? Why to remove statues, if they have been venerated for centuries?

3° I said: “No Eastern Catholic is disturbed when a Latin comes and attends each Sunday an Oriental Mass, or when a Latin recitates the Acathist hymn (in privacy or in an Eastern-rite chapel).” – You said: “We are not referring to private moments here - we are referring to public and semi-public celebrations. I would think that a Latin would be "disturbed" should a priest replace the Latin Feast of the Solemnity of Mary [Jan 1] in the Latin Church with the Syriac Feast of the Naming of our Lord in the Temple [Jan 1].”
Oriental Mass is a liturgical and public celebration, the Acathist in public in Lent in oriental chapels is also a part of the Eastern Liturgy; there are Latins who attends every obligation day only eastern-rite ceremonies; it was what I was meaning.

4° I asked: “Is the genuflection at the consecration words at Mass or at the communion rail not a happy “latinization” in Oriental rites?” – You answered: “No they are not. And I have never seen either. In the East, standing and bowing in reverence are signs of respect. Genuflection does not have legitimate continuity of Tradition in the East. The sign has authentic continuity in the West, dating back to the practice of genuflecting to royalty.”
These genuflections were adopted by several Uniate churches before the reforms following Vatican II, for example in my Melchite Church (at least, in my natal diocese, Sidon (Saida), the first Melchite diocese which returned to the Catholic Unity in the seventeenth century). Genuflection is a sign of adoration, and was universal, among heathen, as among Christians, among Western like among Eastern (e.g. Chinese imperial court ceremonial, moslim uses, Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Eastern countries in the Acts of the Apostles, IX, 40, XX, 36, XXI, 5). – It is a reality that when good latinizations were used, falling again in the schism was less probable.

5° I remarked: “These legitimate “latinizations” were removed, prohibited, condemned by the same Eastern prelates who have adopted what I call “modern latinizations” (the use of only vernacular languages in liturgy, the simplification of the ceremonial and the shortening of the Mass, the shortening of the fast before communion, the reduction of fast days,…).” – You said: “Vernacular Languages were always used in varying Eastern Churches - but not exclusively, most also use their Patristic language [Greek, Slavonic, Armenian, Syriac, etc].”
And the other modernizations? At the origin, even Armenians celebrated in Syriac, Coptes celebrated in Greek… before their refusal of the Council of Chalcedony (cf. Guéranger, Institutions liturgiques, III, chap.3)

6° You said also: “Firstly, the Roman Pontiff doesn't go around defining dogma daily”
Please use a more polite language; the Pope is our common Father.
And also: “Eastern [Catholic] expressions of Faith in no way contradict Catholic dogma.”
Of course, it is catholic if it be catholic, that means, if it be not used to deny or extenuate the catholic meaning (for example, a patriarch is the brother of the Pope, this phrase is true if you consider the dignity Popes have committed to patriarchs, as Vicars of Peter, for the first Patriarchs had all a privileged See linked to the memory of Peter; untrue if you deny that he is also son of the Pope, that means that the Pope has the power even to suspend his patriarchal jurisdiction, or to intervene in his territory without his consent).

7° I said: “The problem is that Eastern Catholic bishops (in Ukraine but also in Syria, …) attenuate in such a way the Catholic doctrine (to please the Orthodox schismatics) that there is a false oecumenism (accompanied by neo-modernism);” – You said: “So the rumour goes, but I have yet to see it in practice. On the other hand, there is open rebellion in some Western dioceses from clergy and episcopate and nothing was done for decades.”
It is not because an abuse exists in Antwerp, that it cannot be corrected in London. Furthermore, it is not a rumour, the examples I gave show it. At the opposite of the eighteenth century Eastern Catholics at the time of the bloody persecutions by the tsarist regime or by the Greek melchite orthodox prelates (who had the help of the pasha of Damascus), many present Eastern priests are not ready more to shed their blood for the defense of catholic dogmas denied by schismatics: primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiffs, the doctrine of the FILIOQUE, the validity of unleavened bread at Mass (denied since Cerularius to our times by official documents of schismatic prelates),…

8° I said: “I have heard many Melchite priests (I am myself a Melchite Lebanese) saying that the Vatican erred by defining the papal infallibility in 1870,” – You said: “Erred in what way? It is not wrong to think that the Vatican erred in prudence in relation to the East.”
I have heard: “The Pope is never infallible, even in dogmatic definitions, because he remains a human”. (Like if ecumenical councils were not a gathering of men). A catholic heart cannot judge the prudence of the Church, she is his Mother. Peace through truth is more important than humanly obtained peace. The Church was guided by the Holy Ghost, when she defined one of the most useful dogmas. According to your opinion, the Councils of Nicaea had not condemn arianism and iconoclasm, … it was imprudent for Arians’ sensibility, and iconoclasts’ and even moslims’ mind.

9° I said: “(they teach) that the original sin or the Immaculate Conception are not mandatory articles of faith,…”– You said: “Original sin and the Immaculate Conception are expressed differently in the East, but are never denied in the way it seems you are saying.”
I did not speak about Eastern theology, but about the modernism which invades the catholic seminaries in East; some present catholic priests deny the obligation of believing these dogmas, and all dogmas defined after the first seven Councils; one priest even argued that schismatics are right not to gather new councils, that Catholics have useless definitions,… I answered him that when our Fathers in the faith gathered the first councils, for example the one against iconoclasm (the veneration through images is not more important that the more-recently defined dogma of Transubstantiation, e.g.), they did not have this anti-traditional mentality, they had one purpose: the triumph of Truth.
Note that Eastern schismatics (maybe not presently, but from the sixteenth century till after 1854 certainly) denied the Immaculate Conception. (In 1854, the separate patriarch of Constantinople published a document in which he stated that Our Lady was stained by the original sin, as a protest against the definition made by Pius IX; in the century before, the Russian metropolite of Moscow accused Dimitry of Rostov, an orthodox saint, because he defended the catholic doctrine in his official Menologion and during all his life – he even made the vow of blood as it was the mode in some Latin countries, the same vow did make Saint John Berchmans, e.g.).

10° I said: “the biggest error is the congress of Balamand (which was never explicitly approved by the Popes) in which it was stated (by Cardinal Kasper and by Eastern-Catholic prelates) that uniatism (that means the restoration of Eastern-rite Catholics Eparchies for Eastern Christians who wanted to keep their rites and to renounce the separation from the Chair of Peter) was a condemnable method (it is pure heretical teaching, because it contradicts the dogmas of Florence, Lateran V, Vatican I (repeated in Vatican II), and because it judges the conduct of former Popes).” – You said: “What of it? It is not heresy to judge the political actions of Popes. Was it proper for the then leadership to divide the faithful from one Church to the other solely because a king or queen were sympathetic to Catholicism or Orthodoxy, sometimes even when the royals were playing politics to gain land or property?”

First, a more than millenary Papal behaviour is not a political one; I remind you that one of the propositions condemned in the Syllabus by Pius IX is “The Roman pontiffs have, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western”. Indeed, Popes have always wanted peace, and even before schism, many Papal tolerances towards Byzantine abuses were only due to the fear of a bigger evil (a prompter schism); Popes have always cared for their first duty: teaching the truth, even if sometimes it be intolerable for the rebels. Uniatism is not dividing schismatic communities: it is restoring what had disappeared by the fault of schism: Catholic Eastern dioceses.
I said nobody can judge the Popes, GOD excepted, it is written in the Canon Law, not as a merely disciplinary and changeable canon, but as consequence of their Primacy.
The dogma of Florence is that embracing the Roman Church is necessary to salvation (excepted in case of invincible ignorance, as teach Pius IX in SINGULARI QUÂDAM), the dogma of Lateran V is the conciliary approval (19 December 1516) of this clause of the bull UNAM SANCTAM of Boniface VIII: “We declare, We say, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” You know of course the doctrine of the first Vatican Council about the immediate jurisdiction over the whole world, the absolute Primacy and the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff; all this is repeated in the Constitution of the second Council of Vatican LUMEN GENTIUM, n.25, which adds also that bishops have no power if separated from Peter’s successor, and that “RELIGIOUS SUBMISSION OF MIND AND WILL must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra”. These dogmas are the pure Tradition: Already Pope Saint Hormisdas imposed to the Eastern bishops the Formulary in which it was to sign that: “The first means of salvation is to guard the rule of strict faith and to deviate in no way from those things that have been laid down by the Fathers. And indeed the words of Our Lord JESUS Christ: THOU ART PETER; AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, cannot be disregarded; these things which were spoken are demonstrated by the results, for the Catholic religion has been preserved ever immaculate in the Apostolic See.”
And do you think Pius XI was a political man when he published the Encyclical MORTALIUM ANIMOS against modern ecumenism? or Pius XII when he said in MYSTICI CORPORIS that the “true Church of JESUS Christ is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church” and that “nothing more glorious, nothing nobler, nothing surely more honorable can be imagined than to belong to the One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church”, and that “they, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”
Conspiracy against Catholicism is the basis of the diffusion of a deformed history about almost all truths and catholic events.

11° I said: “Schismatic churches are material churches, but have lost all legitimacy because of schism and because they accused the Roman Church of heresy.” – You said: “I've not read this opinion in Canon Law. – I said: “They have maybe kept valid Orders, but the apostolic succession is broken by schism. – You said: “Not according to Latin views on validity. Normally Succession remains, even if "illicit".”
See what I post lastly. I name material churches the communities who have kept valid Orders, without faith or jurisdiction. The broken apostolic succession is that of jurisdiction and faith, not that of Orders. Apostolicity is not only a matter of validity of Orders, which is only “material” structure for the Church: this valid sacramental succession must be: 1° continually canonical (if somewhere a bishop had been consecrated illicitly, the apostolicity is broken, and only recuperated by the Pope’s sentence of removal of irregularity), 2° accompanied by continuity of doctrine (the same as the Apostles) and of regime (with the essential element of the constitution of the Church founded by Our Lord: a legitimate hierarchy with Peter, and the by-him approved bishops).

12° You said: “Seeing as how the non-intervention of the Signatura gives the judicial authority to the Major Archiepiscopal Synod, the decision goes against the schismatics”
The non-intervention of the Signatura lets the possibility to the illicit bishops to appeal again to the Pope himself.

13° When I say “without papal mandate” (ordinations among schismatics), I do not condemn the consecrations who take place according to the antique uses, when Eastern Patriarchs, after being confirmed by the Roman Pontiff, could confirm their suffragan bishops, without referring directly to the Roman See. Indeed, it was “without direct papal mandate” but it was “by the rule approved by the Popes”. There is a beautiful French book “Tradition de l’Eglise sur l’Institution des Evêques” which shows that the institution of bishops by patriarchs was the fruit of Papal approvals and sometimes Popes suspended this use.

14° I said: “The Vatican Annuary did not recognize Husar till his regularization.” – You said: “The Catholic faithful, clergy, and hierarchy, however, did. The territory and authority to ordain can be questioned and debated forever, but the fact remains that no one ever stated that Cardinal Joseph was ever excommunicated or outside the Church, nor was Bishop Lobomyr - unlike those mentioned above.”
You misunderstand what I meant: catholic Hierarchy is first of all the Holy See; if this See recognized Husar, his name had to be printed in the Annuario Pontificio; it was not printed, nor he was given a diocese since the Roman Pontiff did not remove his irregularity yet; the Pope was really afflicted by this ceremony, but he did not want to pronounce excommunication, by fear of disturbing the new ecumenism, and by respect for the cardinal who struggled all his life for the catholic Faith in Ukraine. Husar was only tolerated, but his consecration remained illicit, although unpunished. I do not understand how you know that “Catholics did recognize him” AS LEGAL.

15° You said: “It's strange that these so-called "traditionalists" are not as Traditional as they claim to be - neither in the rites they refuse to return to their proper Tradition nor in their understanding of the Church.”
You have reason on this point, if you understand: true Tradition is to be faithful to the Pope (like were Eastern Saints in the antiquity: I always admire the words of Theodore Studite praising the Roman Pontiffs, the defense of the Latin expression FILIOQUE by the Greek S. Maximus of Chrysopolis against the monothelite Pyrrhus, who already accused Latins of heresy about that,…), but I add: even if one must forsake his own rite! I mean that, for example, when, at the beginning of the XIXth century, Russian ladies, of the highest classes (Princess Golovine, Countess Swetchine, Catherine Protassow, whose husband was the governor of Moscow count Rostopchine,…), became Catholic and Latin (the tsars forbade the use of Eastern rites by Catholics in Russia, and these ladies’ husbands were friends of the tsar), they were more rightly traditional, than all people who remained schismatic, by fear of giving up their nationalism or their rites*. Proper tradition is not Tradition, it can be a part contributing to it, but it does not replace THE Tradition.
*(their prelates, especially Russian schismatics, but also Greeks, Romanians,… lie to their peoples, when they say that Catholicism is Latinism; they deceive them, when they tell that Catholicism is betraying the nation, argument which was repeatedly used against Catholics in East, even in the West at jansenist courts : for the Pope is a foreign Monarch)

16° You said: “Again, Bishop Lobomyr was not consecrated AGAINST papal mandate. There is a vast difference between going against the authority of the Pope, such as Bishop Lefebvre's deliberate denial of the Pope's wishes, in comparison to ordaining as a Patriarch would - not needing Papal mandate, just not outright rejection (just as one would hope the Pope would not ordain someone whom one or more of the Patriarchs were completely against).”
It is not correct; I maintain that Paul VI did not want Husar’s consecration; Cardinal Slipyj had no patriarchal rights (and even at this time Catholic patriarchs had not the right to choose bishops without submitting their choice to the express approval of the Roman Pontiff). And even if Popes, by the authority of Peter, concede to patriarchs or archbishops the privilege to elect their suffragan bishops, they can always reject a choice.

Ogard said...

“Lubomyr Cardinal Husar was himself consecrated a bishop without a papal blessing by the late Josef Cardinal Slipyj, the then-Major Archbishop of the UGCC, in 1977. Rome recognized him only in 1996.”

The facts seem true. But I wouldn’t suggest that the situation is comparable. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is not a Latin Archdiocese. The Major Archbishop Slipyj was entitled to do what he did, and the Pope has more than admitted it in due course. In the present case, the decision of the Synod was sufficient, and the papal extra was a support particularly because the four excommunicantes were the latinizers.

But, by the way, are they excommunicated? From the links given is doesn’t appear so.

Anonymous said...

Simple folk do not need many words, as does "Michael" above, for instance, to see what is holy and humble about certain religious practices. The majority of the humble laity know what is "golden" and holy, but our proud and stubborn and hence blinded hierarchy is doing so much damage. Yes, we listen to our bishops and priests, and "stand" in respect when our hearts tell us to kneel before God... to stand for hours waiting for the multitude of words spewn in duet between clergy and diaky during the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts to end, while we yearn for simple but powerful interaction with our suffering Christ during the Way of the Cross... We hear nothing any more of the Divine Presence of Our Lord in our kyvoty, ever since we ceased all public processions outside bearing the Holy Eucharist.... We are sneered at when we suggest praying the Rosary, one of the most powerful unifying prayers in existence wherever people gather.....We have waited so long for Rome to hear us, the faithful descendants of our forefathers post-1596.... but Rome seems not to care. May Our Lord have pity on us, and hear our silent weeping. Nick Z.