Skip to comments.Ukrainian (Catholic) Church an example of 'synodality' for Pope
Posted on 12/04/2013 6:58:52 AM PST by NYer
.- The head of the Ukrainian Church revealed that in a recent private meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff praised the structure of Eastern Churches for their emphasis on collaboration among bishops.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said his discussion with Pope Francis mainly focused on “the synodality of our Church,” as the Pope is looking for ways to “foster the collegiality in the Catholic Church.”
“For him,” the archbishop told CNA, “the way how we live our synodality as an eastern Catholic Churches is an example.”
The private conversation between the archbishop and the Pope took place Nov. 25 after the prelate celebrated a Mass commemorating the 50th anniversary of the transfer of the relics of St. Josaphat – a Ukrainian bishop martyred in the 17th century – to St. Peter's Basilica.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk is the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and was present in Rome for the Nov. 19-21 plenary assembly of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, remaining in Rome afterwards to preside over the special Mass honoring the Ukrainian saint.
Archbishop Shevchuk explained that within the Greek Ukranian Church there are currently 48 bishops, “including an emeritus one,” and that normally “each year, world-wide, we have a synod gathering of more or less 35 bishops.”
Of these, 30 were present at last week's plenary assembly and “all active synod came to pray together, to listen to the pope and to foster that synodality in his presence.”
In wake of these discussions, noted the archbishop, he and the Pope spoke together “about the collegiality and the synodality of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.”
Archbishop Shevchuk also revealed that a key point of discussion in this year's plenary assembly was the grave concern for the Church in the Middle East.
“Today, the Eastern Catholic Churches live three different, I would say, local situations, this is in India, Middle East and Eastern Europe,” he said, adding that “we were very much concerned about the Middle East,” and that “especially the question of Syria was raised very strongly.”
During the meetings, the archbishop emphasized that “we not only prayed together the Divine Liturgy, praying for the peace in Syria but we are also trying to understand what is going on there and how we can show our solidarity and what we as a church in world-wide dimensions can do for them.”
A great concern for all of the Eastern Patriarchs, Archbishop Shevchuk noted, is how to organize their “pastoral care,” outside the areas of Syria and the Middle East “because there is a massive emigration.”
Those who are suffering due to the situation “need to feel the presence of their patriarchs,” the archbishop continued, emphasizing the challenges presented to pastoral care “in the territory where there is violence going on.”
“In the diaspora” where those who flee their home country are far from their “own structures,” it is difficult to know “how to help them to keep their own tradition even where they are going today,” the prelate explained.
“So this is world-wide question,” he stated, “it was a concern of the Chaldean Church but also the same situation we have as a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.”
“This is the main concern which was expressed and shared among us in those very particular for us days.”
Speaking of the significance of the transfer of the relics of St. Josaphat to St. Peter's Basilica fifty years ago, the prelate highlighted how it is a great symbol of unity, because the “unique” Saint worked hard for unity in his life, and is now “present in the St. Peter Basilica, so close to the tomb of St. Peter.”
“Those 50 years,” he noted, “were 50 years of studies and reflection about our today's mission as fully oriental church who rediscovers and lives its own spiritual, ascetical, theological and liturgical tradition.”
This tradition, continued the archbishop, is one that they “have in common with our Orthodox brethren, but we live that tradition with the full communion with the successor of Peter.”
“St. Josaphat is a symbol, a symbol of unity of the Church of Kyiv with the successor of Peter in the ecclesiastical memory, so he sealed in his blood that unity that was subscribed in some, I would say, agreements.”
In standing alongside Pope Francis at the altar after the celebration of the anniversary Mass, “we had a possibility to experience that personal vital communion as a synod of the bishops with new elected Pope Francis,” Archbishop Shevchuk reflected.
“So St. Josaphat gave us one more gift. That communion for which he died as a martyr, he offer us today in that very unique moment of not only communion, but the meeting of the pope…to listen to him, to see him, to express who we are.”
Keeping an eye on this.
The difference is that in the East, the bishops are all Catholics.
Scale matters—a bishop for slightly less than every 100,000 members and 48 bishops total makes personal interaction possible. Every bishop should know each of his priests and each of his brother bishops at least somewhat. This is, as your chart points out, the largest of the Eastern Churches in communion, but things are still manageable. The problem in the Latin Rite is that this Rite is over 98% if the 1.21 Billion Catholics. If things were scaled out, that would mean over 12,000 Latin Bishops—there is a big difference between 48 people getting together to discuss things and 12,000.
Only the Holy Spirit can keep a mess this big together.
Hieronymus makes an excellent point! The ratio of bishop to priests and parishioners in the Eastern Catholic Churches is much smaller; hence the bishop is more approachable. We enjoy a much closer and more personable relationship with our bishops and vice versa. My Maronite bishop was at this years USCCB Fall Meeting at the time of his birthday. I emailed him my best wishes, along with my prayers. He quickly responded with gratitude. He enjoys visiting our parish, usually during the Christmas novena. It's an open house event and he remembers all of our names. We pray for him as he does for us. He exemplifies a true shepherd.
In some Latin dioceses, the situation may be similar in terms of Bishop approachability—I am in a diocese of under 70,000 and many of the faithful are acquainted with the Bishop, but the diocese is relatively small and unimportant in a country with 13 million Catholics. Including retired Bishops, there are slightly less than 130 Latin rite Bishops for the country—so the overall ratio is about the same as the Eastern average, but the conference would be much larger than any Eastern synod. Moreover, the few Bishops with really large sees tend to carry a larger weight. It just isn’t and can’t be the same.
I’d be interested to hear your comments on this thread.
What the heck are you talking about? There are numerous bishops in Eastern Christianity who are NOT Catholic and do NOT accept the Pope. Ask any Orthodox Christian.
Sorry, I was posting from an iPhone, it could have been longer.
Synodality works well in the Ukranian Catholic Church because the synod of bishops is not made up of “Vatican II Catholics”, unlike, say, Western Europe or North America.
Where more than half of the bishops are openly or covertly non-Catholic, synodality would be a mess.
Your follow up post makes even LESS sense.
First off, most of Vatican II's decrees deal exclusively with western practices, so they do not affect the eastern churches. However, Eastern Catholic bishops participated in and helped draft various Vatican II decrees. In fact, many eastern Catholics welcomed Vatican II because it meant western practices would no longer be imposed on their churches. (see https://melkite.org/faith/faith-worship/introduction ) The ONE decree of Vatican II that DOES directly affect eastern rite Catholics, "Orientalium Ecclesiarum", is applauded by most eastern Catholics.
Secondly, by definition, all Catholics bishops are "Vatican II" Catholics just like they're "Vatican I Catholics". In other words, bishops who remain faithful the Catholic Church accept Vatican II. They may not be HAPPY with everything Vatican II did, but they do acknowledge and tolerate it. Those who reject Vatican II and REFUSE to abide by it are Sedevacantists. In fact, a Ukrainian Catholic bishop was excommunicated for rejecting Vatican II and claiming the modern Popes are heretics for implimenting it. (Google Archbishop Michael Osidach)
This thread was talking about Catholic Churches from the East that are aligned with Rome.
Most of the bishops in the U.S. have been chosen from among the worst priests—the climbers and networkers. Four percent of priests were abusers; sixty-six percent of bishops covered up for them.
When abortion was becoming an issue in the U.S., around 1968, and for decades after, about 90% of American bishops were men whose fathers were members of one of the big trade unions. I.e., they were Yellow Dog Democrats, and quite a few were Red Diaper Babies.
There have been some better appointments recently, but Dolan, O’Malley, Wuerl, and Gomez are throwbacks to the “Jadot bishop” era: Democrats first, Catholics second.
The laity have taken virtually ALL the initiative in the Catholic Church when it comes to opposing abortion, and have been treated like scum by most bishops. Only two or three bishops supported the Rescue Movement. Many condemned it repeatedly.
The bishops of the U.S. have had nothing to say about the trampling of liberty by the U.S. Government, except concerning the HHS Abortion Mandate. And it is universally acknowledged that when push comes to shove, only a handful of bishops will refuse to pay for birth control, sterilizations, and abortions. The rationalizations have all been formulated.
If the Catholic Church survives on the North American continent, the Catholic bishops will not merit any mention in the history of how it happened—except for a recounting of the opportunities they ran from.
If the Pope is pinning any hopes for the Church in America on the bishops, he is deluded. If he thinks the USCCB is going to be an instrument for good, he is hallucinating.
Try convincing your fellow FRoman Catholics of that factoid.
**Most of the bishops in the U.S. have been chosen from among the worst prieststhe climbers and networkers. Four percent of priests were abusers; sixty-six percent of bishops covered up for them.**
This is true if you consider the Bernardin boys and the Jadot Jots.....but most of them are gone now and have been replaced by Orthodox Bishops placed by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.
Even western Oregon got a conservative Bishop — figure that one out!
Gomez was a “conservative.”
He may be “conservative” on strictly theological topics, but he is an anti-Anglo bigot and a full-time amnesty activist.
Which means that he is in FAVOR of increasing the bloc of pro-abortion voters.
AFAIK, JPII paid almost no attention to episcopal appointments. Bernardin and Weakland flourished under JPII.
As a rule, the men appointed as bishops are mentally well-prepared to deal with the world as it was forty to sixty years ago.
It is just dawning on America’s bishops that the Democrats are pro-abortion.
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