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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Orthodox

Pope Benedict has "politely rebuffed" a demand by the Orthodox Church that he prohibit the move of the see of the Ukrainian Catholic Church from L'viv to Kiev. I don't know whether the numbers of Ukrainian Catholics in the western part of Ukraine justifies the move or not, but what I want to address is the issue of the appropriateness of asking the Pope to prohibit the move.

One of the main criticisms of the Pope regards his universal jurisdiction, so it would seem that the Orthodox Church should be happy when the Pope doesn't interfere in the issues regarding the internal affairs of a particular Church. That is, for the Pope to forbid the Ukrainian Catholic Church from moving its see to another city within its canonical territory would be violate of the very autonomy that the Orthodox point to as one of their objections to church union. On the otherhand, if the Orthodox want the Pope to forbid the Ukrainian Catholic Church from moving to Kiev, shouldn't they be willing to accept theoretical Papal control over their own bishops should union take place?


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