Friday, December 31, 2021

"Auld Lang Syne" Dept.
(And Goodbye)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stoop
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn
Frae mornin' sun till dine
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And here's a hand, my trusty fiere
And gi'e's a hand o' thine
And we'll tak a right good willy waught
For auld lang syne. [Attr. Robert Burns]

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sleep among the stars
Dry those tears upon the wind
Cry no more sweet girl

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Points to Ponder:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. [C.S. Lewis]

Picking Ten Threads:

I put up on Monday a post highlighting eighty threads from Rerum Novarum which were posted over the time period where this site was re-engaged. Afterwards, it dawned on me that it might be useful to post a more condensed followup to that material before this site is indefinitely suspended. With that in mind, I went through the lengthier thread compilation and picked ten threads from it to feature on their own at this time. Without further ado...

Points to Ponder For Those Who Grieve (circa December 14, 2021)

On the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, Obedience, and the Requirements of Faithful Catholics (circa February 26, 2020)

Points to Ponder on Dialogue (circa October 21, 2019)

Lighting Candles Instead of Cursing the Darkness (circa September 13, 2018)

Briefly on Grieving (circa May 30, 2017)

More on Usury, the Importance of Definitions for Utilizing Logic and Rational Thought, the Problem With Sophism, Etc. (circa March 11, 2021)

A Plan To Pay Off The National Debt (circa August 14, 2020)

On the Controversy of Amoris Laetitia Amongst The More Faithful Than Thou Crowd (circa December 5, 2019)

More on the Subject of Natural Born Citizenship (circa October 31, 2018)

On Objective Principles and Subjective Circumstances Where Citing Sources Are Concerned (circa April 25, 2017)

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Points to Ponder:

At some point, I realized that my view of the world had changed.


While I realized that I had to be intentional about how I invested my limited emotional energy, the truth is, a lot of things that used to piss me off, just didn’t matter to me at the same level anymore.

It was as if my meter had been recalibrated, and things that used to be a 7 or 8 or 9 on the piss-me-off-o-meter, now were more like a solid 4. And there isn’t much reason to get upset about a 4. It wasn’t that I stopped caring, and I want to be clear about that point.


But my emotional response to day-to-day issues has changed. It diminished, and in some cases, ceases to exist. Moreover, I just don’t view most problems as being big enough to justify my getting upset.

And at some level, about some issues, it is a case of 'fuck it, I don’t care.' In those cases, I wonder why I ever got upset about those things in the first place. [Shawn Herbig]

Monday, December 27, 2021

Eighty Notable Threads of Rerum Novarum Since 2017:

Before this website goes on an indefinite suspension, I want to compile here a list of threads since I resumed publishing in this medium that are in my mind among the most important generally speaking as opposed to personally so as a rule.{1} These are grouped together by the general category titles of grieving, ethics, dialogue, theological, apologetical, and politics and listed from most recent to oldest in each category. (Recent guest editorials while worthy of mention are not included.) Without further ado and divided by general topics...


Points to Ponder For Those Who Grieve (circa December 14, 2021)

Points to Ponder on Grief (circa February 8, 2021)

Four Questions For Distributist/Distributivist Apologists (circa April 12, 2021)

On the Subject of Character (circa March 10, 2021)

A Public Notification To Venerable David (circa April 11, 2017)


More on Usury, the Importance of Definitions for Utilizing Logic and Rational Thought, the Problem With Sophism, Etc. (circa March 11, 2021)

On Usury, the Importance of Definitions to Reasoned Thought and Discourse, Etc. (circa March 2, 2021)

On Q, Conspiracies, "Patriots", "The Plan", Etc. (circa January 21, 2021)

On Amoris Laetitia, Argumentation Fallacies, The Eye Beams of Some More Faithful Than Thou Folks, Etc. (circa February 4, 2020)

More on Popes, Heresy, Theology, Church History, Etc. (circa February 11, 2019)

On Papal Dissent, Argumentation Fallacies, Etc. (circa February 9, 2019)


"None Dare Call It Conspiracy" Dept. (circa December 5, 2018)

Commemorating A Controversial Anniversary (circa August 17, 2017)


Seven Ideas For Law Enforcement Reform (circa June 15, 2020)

On The Recent Birthright Citizenship Kerfuffle (circa November 5, 2018)

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Points to Ponder:

You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters. [St. Bernard of Clarivaux]

Saturday, December 25, 2021


Friday, December 24, 2021

Briefly on Pope Francis and His Magisterium:

My words will be in regular font.

He lost me with Amoris Laetitia.

Amoris Laetitia as an apostolic exhortation. The exhortation format means it is as much about the application of doctrine as it is doctrine. Nonetheless, its teachings on doctrine are a part of the papal magisterium. 

It is a matter of definitive Catholic doctrine (cf. Canon 750§2) 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; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will" (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium §25) and on matters of the authentic magisterium "the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it" (Canon 752).

I became actively hostile to him because of Laudato Si.

As an encyclical letter, Laudato Si has among the highest levels of authority. Its teachings on doctrine are a part of the papal magisterium. 

It is a matter of definitive Catholic doctrine (cf. Canon 750§2) 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; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will" (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium §25) and on matters of the authentic magisterium "the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it" (Canon 752).

Fruity Tooty made it worse.

As an encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti has among the highest levels of authority. Its teachings on doctrine are a part of the papal magisterium. 

It is a matter of definitive Catholic doctrine (cf. Canon 750§2) 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; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will" (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium §25) and on matters of the authentic magisterium "the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it" (Canon 752).

Traditionis Custodes put it over the line.

Traditionis Custodes is an apostolic letter issued motu proprio. This format can vary some but in the case of TC, it is a matter of ecclesiastical discipline to which at the very least external assent must be shown even if one does not like or agree with it. (Unlike the others mentioned, as this one is a matter of discipline, one can differ in opinion on it provided said difference is conducted respectfully.)

One need not be a sede to have their communion with the Church seriously impaired. To the degree anyone runs afoul of what I noted above is the degree to which their communion with the Catholic Church is impaired and confession of such sins before receiving communion would be advisable (cf. 1 Cor. xi,27).

The Church, which has her origin in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a mystery of communion. In accordance with the will of her founder, she is organized around a hierarchy established for the service of the Gospel and the People of God who live by it. After the pattern of the members of the first community, all the baptized with their own proper charisms are to strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship (cf. Acts 2:42). This is a rule which flows from the very being of the Church. For this reason, standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church. Even less can relationships within the Church be inspired by the mentality of the world around it (ct. Rom 12:2). Polling public opinion to determine the proper thing to think or do, opposing the Magisterium by exerting the pressure of public opinion, making the excuse of a 'consensus' among theologians, maintaining that the theologian is the prophetical spokesman of a 'base' or autonomous community which would be the source of all truth, all this indicates a grave loss of the sense of truth and of the sense of the Church. [CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis §39 (circa May 24, 1990)]

Thursday, December 23, 2021

On An Upcoming Indefinite Suspension of This Website:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The threads posted over the past week make it clear to me that there is a serious need for another website sabbatical. It may not be seven plus years as the last one was but I do not know once it is initiated when I will be motivated to publish anything here again.

The past couple of years have resembled the time period from 2001 to roughly 2006 where certain extraordinary life stresses affected me very deeply. The difference now is that I lack my old reserves of fortitude to push through and be prolific despite the traumas. I wish it was otherwise but reality is what it is and I recognize it and must act accordingly.

I will likely continue to dabble a bit in social media and while it is not inconceivable that some of that material may be published here in the future; at the same time, I cannot promise that. The web will continue, full as it is with pompous blowhard pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists of various stripes either shrieking about some apocalypse or tactlessly trying to pick fights with others.{1} Such idiocy abounds but my mind is drawn to the writer of Ecclesiastes said "to everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven" (Ecc. iii,1). The season for me now is to spend my time focused more on matters of greater importance which means consigning this sphere to silence. 

So with that noted, this website will continue to publish material until the end of the month at which time it will be indefinitely suspended.


{1} The same sorts incidentally who habitually cut and run like the shameful cowards they are when their offerings are  subjected to reasonable scrutiny and their media masturbation makes a mockery of authentic dialogue. I have no energy for dealing with "fools who do not delight in understanding" (cf. Proverbs xviii,2).

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Points to Ponder:

One of the advantages of getting old is that what the Byzantine liturgy refers to as the 'dread tribunal of Christ' that you're going to stand before puts the fear of God into you, and so you move to pray more. That already has had an influence on my spiritual life. [Fr. Robert Taft SJ]

At a couple of points in the first run of this website{1}, I made mention of the family death toll. Back in 2009, I mentioned that as of 2006, I had lost thirty odd persons either close family, relatives, close friends, etc. in the prior six years and that I had attended twenty-one funerals. The occasion of that posting was me breaking my "no more funerals" vow to attend two more funerals in 2009.{2} Not long after that, this site was suspended for various reasons and among them was the growing deathtoll. And it did not stop when this site was first suspended. After comparing lists with my mother a few days ago, my list is updated and it is longer than I thought it was. Without further ado...

Virginia Usher (3/2000)*
Art McCann (7/2000)*
Jane Clark (8/2000)*
Mel Clark (5/2001)*
Joyce McCoy (1/2001)-
Richard Dunn McElhinney (6/2001)*
James Dunn McElhinney (8/2001)*
Mary Kanski (9/2001)*
Mark Usher (3/2002)*
Hope Hitchman (3/2002)
David Kanski (5/2002)*
Cindy Greubel (6/2002)*
Annie Sabin (6/2002)*
Joan Lucas (11/2002)
Roy Sabin (12/2002)*
Buddy (1/2003)*
Ed Flynn (1/2004)*
Mel Denny (1/2004)*
Dr. Who (7/2004)*
Chris DiSomma (11/2005)*
Larry Gonczy (12/2005)*
Kathy Hanks (1/2006)
Kathy Edlund (4/2006)*
Sharon Colson (6/2006)
Leo McCann (8/2006)*
Cecilia Flynn (9/2006)*
---Imposed "No More Funerals" vow---

Betty Cribbs (12/2006)-
Ginny Riley (6/2007)
Alice Romanick (7/2007)-
Ann Ripplinger (6/2008)

---Broke "No More Funerals" vow---

Jerry Dykstra (9/2009)*
Don Hellstrom (9/2009)
Willie Romanick (11/2009)-

---Suspended Rerum Novarum---

Louie (5/2010)*
Hattie Denny (9/2010)
Bobby Kanski (3/2011)*
Claudia McElhinney (7/2011)*
Jack DeLisle (11/2011)*
Stan Kanski (1/2012)*
Betty Hale (2/2012)-

---Got married---

Vickie Holdgrafer (8/2012)
Mark Cribbs (8/2012)

---Moved to the Northeast United States---

John Loughnan (12/2013)-
Cutie (2/2014)*
Pat Kane (5/2014)
Sasha (10/2014)
Tristan (3/2015)
Dan Baker (6/2015)-
Kristi Pisano (6/2016)*
Mystery (8/2016)*
Steve Paul (2/2017)
Jim Duma (6/2017)-
Larry Usher (9/2017)
Jim Greubel (10/2017)
Keith McDonald (1/2018)
Vicenzia Barone (1/2018)*
Lanny Johnson (9/2018)
Bill Grossklas (10/2018)-
Mona McDonald (12/2018)-
Dave Altier (5/2019)
Marlene Eiden (6/2019)
Raffaelina Barone (4/2020)**
Frank D. Barone (5/2020)**
Gail Kanski (10/2020)
Gerald Holdgrafer (12/2020)
Patches (12/2021)*

My mothers list is even longer than mine -more than 80 names in the same time period. The starred names are those whose funerals I attended. The ones with dashes I found out about some time afterward. When you go through so many deaths in rapid succession, it is hard to keep track of it all. So in the past nearly 22 years, I have had 65 family, friends, and pets pass on and attended 35 funerals or their equivalents{3} during that time.

In the cases of Raffaelina and Frank Barone there has not been a funeral yet due to Covid but my wife and I oversaw every part of their burials. And Patches my sweet girl was cremated late last week and I will be picking her urn up this morning. She will join Louie, Mystery, and Cutie on my memorial shelf. Which brings me to the point I want to make at this time.

Just as "all glory is fleeting" (cf. George Patton), so too in a certain sense is life. And the time we have for investment in various endeavours is limited. It is good to write material of general usefulness from time to time and even occasionally stuff not as serious. But again time (like glory) is fleeting. We need to ask ourselves periodically if we are really serving others with what we do or if we are merely feeding our own egos.{4}

To continue this site at the present time in lieu of recent events and circumstances would run the risk of me doing what so many others online do; namely, make it a matter of ego and continue on just to continue. There is also the risk of me lashing out at others in ways that would not edify{5} and I cannot in conscience do that. For these reasons, the days of actively publishing material to this site are numbered


{1} From August 22, 2002 to December 19, 2009.

{2} Of which I was only able to attend Jerry Dykstra's as Don Hellstrom's was held halfway across the state.

{3} The only ones attended since April of 2013 were in the northeast, the ones prior to that were in Washington state west of the Cascades.

{4} I see too much Groundhog Day type reiterations online and elsewhere from people who really are just spinning their wheels uselessly on the same crap day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, etc. And while I have actually made conscious efforts on this site to avoid the groundhog day gibberish common to the pundits, agenda provocateurs, and apologists of various stripes, at the same time, there is still a certain degree of repetition even when one actively tries to avoid it. 

{5} The pain is frankly too much for me right now, worse than it has been in years. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Anamnesis, Not Amnesia:
The 'Healing Memories' and the Problem of 'Uniatism'

by Father Robert Taft, S.J.

No one who keeps abreast of the religious news can be unaware that ecumenical relations between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches are in a period of crisis, worse, perhaps, than at any time since the official international ecumenical dialogue between these two communions began in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. The Eighth Plenary Session of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church on July 9-19, 2000 at Mount St. Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmittsburg, Maryland, is known to have ended in a stalemate or worse— some have privately branded it a complete fiasco.[1]


What has led to this impasse is the phenomenon known as “Uniatism,”[2] a pejorative neologism coined to denote a method of Church union the Orthodox see as politically rather than religiously motivated, and contrary to the “communion ecclesiology” of the Church of the first millennium.[3] In “Uniatism,” one Church is perceived as an aggressor against a “sister Church” with which it happens at the moment to be in schism, absorbing groups of its faithful deceptively by allowing them to retain their own liturgical and canonical traditions and a certain autonomy. This type of union, considered the result of political pressure reinforced by violence, created not unity but new divisions in an already fragmented Christendom.

To understand “Uniatism” and this negative view of it, one must understand the nature of the reunions of the 16th and later centuries, and of the Eastern Catholic Churches that resulted. Regardless of the intentions behind them, these reunions were not, except in the most formal, theological sense, a restoration of the communion that had existed before the schism between East and West. They represented something new in the history of the Church, a departure from the past, which is why the Slavic neologism “unija” was invented to describe it.

Had the Union of Florence in 1439 been successful, the phenomenon of “Uniatism” would never have emerged. For at Florence the Latin West and the Byzantine East tried to face and deal with each other directly as equals. But the Orthodox repudiation of the Union of Florence in 1484 provoked a clear though perhaps unconscious shift in tactics by the Latin Church. Disillusioned by the failure to achieve a general union, the Roman Church began to sign separate union agreements with individual groups of Orthodox, thus nibbling away at the fringes of Orthodoxy in areas under the political control of Catholic powers. For the Orthodox, this was perfidious, like signing a separate peace behind the backs of one’s allies instead of working for a general peace. Rome could respond that they were simply entering into union with a local Church (which indeed the Roman Church, like any other Church, had every right to do).[4]

Phenomenologically, the Churches had in fact evolved beyond the pre-Nicene system in which one could still legitimately view the universal Church as a federation of local Churches with no intervening higher structures— as if Canada, for example, were just a collection of towns not united into separate provinces. So the Orthodox groups that entered into union with Rome were not simply restoring the former, broken unity between a local Church and the Church of Rome, even if this is what they had intended. Rather, they were separating themselves from one entity, their Orthodox Mother Church, and being absorbed into another, the Latin Catholic Church of the West. In short, they were leaving the Eastern Church and being assimilated into the Western Church. Far from restoring the broken communion between East and West, this led to new divisions.For the Orthodox, such partial reunions remove the whole ecumenical problem from its proper context. This is a view that most ecumenists now share. In this perspective, the separation between our Churches resulted between the hierarchies of East and West over ecclesial questions like the extent and powers of the Roman See; and it is up to those two hierarchies together, and not individuals or splinter groups of bishops, to solve these problems in common. Partial reunion only divides the Orthodox Churches and is seen as deceiving the simple faithful, who follow their bishops in good faith with no understanding of the issues involved. For the Orthodox, such partial reunions are not Union but “Unia,” breaking ranks and entering premature and treacherous submissions to one side in a dispute without the consent of one’s partners.

Centuries of East-West Confrontation

“Uniatism,” however, is but the tip of the iceberg, the heritage of centuries of East-West confrontation, stretching from the Middle Ages to the present. Since it is Catholic aggression against the East that is at the origins of today’s problem, let us review some of Catholic policy toward the East, much of which the objective observer can only view from today’s perspective as a comedy of errors.

The Catholic Church inserted itself dramatically into the life of the Christian East during the Crusades and during the Renaissance, in the “Age of Discovery” beginning at the end of the 15th century, setting up parallel Church structures in lands of apostolic Christianity and creating problems that exist to this day. In so doing, the Catholic Church was true to its evolving exclusivist ecclesiology in which there was but one valid Christendom, its own, entirely under the sway of the bishop of Rome, who could use his minions to do pretty much what he pleased everywhere.

Before the era of “Uniatism” at the end of the 16th century, Rome had worked for a general reunion with the Orthodox while striving at the same time for conversions to the Latin rite.[5] Previous to the Florentine Union (1439), Greek dioceses in lands under the control of the Italian maritime city-states, as in the islands of the Aegean, had automatically come under Latin ecclesiastical rule as well. The same was true in the Latin Kingdoms the Crusaders carved out for themselves in the Middle East, where Latin hierarchies were imposed on the conquered lands. But on the parish level the clergy and people were pretty much left alone.[6] This was long before the East-West Schism had hardened in the 18th century,[7] and was not really the same thing as a formal act of union separating the faithful from their Orthodox Churches and integrating them into the Latin Church.

The western assault on the East began in earnest only with the missionary era in the Age of Discovery, when Catholic missionaries spread far and wide on the heels of Portuguese colonization. Can one wonder that the local hierarchies of age-old Churches in places like India were more than bewildered by this invasion, which was in reality if not in intention little more than imperialism on the ecclesial level.[8] In this invasion, the role of Jesuit missionaries, perfectly suited for the task by St. Ignatius of Loyola’s universalist and papalist ecciesiology, was pivotal. The sudden, uninvited intrusion into the life of local Churches of a group of well-educated, dynamically zealous, foreign priests, owing obedience not to the local hierarchy but to a foreign “universal bishop” tens of thousands of kilometers away, could not but spell trouble.[9]

In Malabar on the Fishery Coast of southwest India under the Portuguese “Padroãdo,” the Latin invaders coopted in 1599 the hierarchical structure of the native apostolic Church of the Thomas Christians; and Jesuit Francis Roz was imposed as the first Latin prelate of the Syrians that same year. Portuguese archbishops of Angamali-Cranganore, all Jesuits, governed thereafter the once independent Malabar Church that had flourished in those parts for a millennium before anyone ever heard of the Society of Jesus. Chauvinistically, the Jesuits allowed only their own members to work in Malabar, with predictable results. On January 3, 1653, the exasperated people revolted. Gathering at the cross before the Church at Mattancherry, they took a solemn oath no longer to recognize the archbishop at Cranganore and to drive the Jesuits out. This has gone down in history as “The Coonan Cross Oath.” Native Syro-Malabar Catholics even today will take one with pride to visit this symbol of their heroic uprising against their ecclesiastical oppressors, the Jesuits. They took me there in the summer of 1986. I prayed for those heroic souls, literally driven out of the Catholic Church by Portuguese Jesuit malfeasance, and asked God to forgive this mindless destructiveness.

The Jesuit Mission in Ethiopia, the Society of Jesus’ first encounter with the Christian East in the time of St. Ignatius himself, was an even greater fiasco. The tale is narrated under the title “Prester John’s Business” in James Brodrick’s delightful classic, The Progress of the Jesuits. What neither Brodrick nor St. lgnatius knew, since both shared a Catholic ecclesiology common before Vatican II, is how amusing the whole story would be to someone with a different view of things, one not based on Latin ecclesiological exclusivism and Roman pretentions.

As the story goes, back in the days when gentlemen from the Iberian Peninsula spent their time discovering the Americas and colonizing the rest of the world, a Portuguese adventurer named Peres de Covilham came into contact with what he thought was the mythical priest-king Prester John in the person of the Negus of Abyssinia. That legendary African potentate, who had not the slightest interest in contacting anybody, promptly interned de Covilham for life, though he had the courtesy to provide him with a wife with whom to while away his captivity. Vasco da Gama was looking for that same Prester John chap in 1497 when he took a wrong turn and discovered India instead, which, as we have seen, the Portuguese also promptly colonized.

But eventually, contact with the Negus was made again. After a certain amount of skirmishing and feinting, relations were established. The Ethiopians, adherents of a pre-Chalcedonian Church, even hinted at possible ecclesiastical union, which despite its faults the Catholic Church, unlike a more introverted, self-satisfied East, had never lost interest in. That, of course, is how the Jesuits got into the act. On December 22, 1553, the prominent early Jesuit Juan Alfonso de Polanco, first Secretary of the Society of Jesus under St. Ignatius, wrote that King John of Portugal “has this month urgently requested our Father Ignatius to nominate twelve of the Society, including a patriarch, for the lands of Prester John...” After much consultation and searching about, not so much for the right men as for anyone who could be freed up for the job in those busy days, a Portuguese patriarch was chosen for hapless Ethiopia by Ignatius of Loyola, a mere presbyter of the Roman Church. On January 24, 1554, Pope Julius III confirmed the nomination of Father John Nuñez Barreto, S.J., a Portuguese nobleman, as first Catholic patriarch of Ethiopia.

From today’s perspective, the absurdity of the undertaking is simply breathtaking, as if President George Bush had asked the U.S. Jesuit authorities to name some American Jesuit to head the Iraqi-based East-Syrian “Church of the East” once things got cleaned up after the Gulf War. Of course such a judgment is inevitably an anachronism. One does not need to know much about the early history of the Society of Jesus to realize that in those days a nuanced communion ecclesiology was not a specialty of Catholics or Jesuits or anyone else for that matter; nor can one legitimately expect it to have been.

But the story doesn’t end here. Fortified with instructions from his presbyter-superior St. Ignatius, the fledgling patriarch and his coadjutor bishop, the Spanish Jesuit Andrew d’Oviedo, set sail for Ethiopia. Patriarch Baretto died at Goa in 1561, but Oviedo, who succeeded him on the patriarchal throne, eventually reached Ethiopia, where Jesuits continued to labor heroically for three quarters of a century until, predictably, they got themselves kicked out.

The trouble began under the Negus Susneyios, who had already embraced Catholicism privately. At his behest, the Holy See named Alfonso Mendez, S.J., patriarch. Mendez arrived in Ethiopia in 1625; the following year the union of the Ethiopian Church with Rome was proclaimed. The Jesuits proceeded to make the same mistakes their confreres were making at the same time in Malabar. The Gregorian Calendar, as well as Latin fasts and abstinences were imposed by force of arms. Mendez even wanted to impose the Roman liturgy translated into Ge’ez. Inevitably, the people revolted; the Jesuits were expelled in 1636; and Ethiopia was closed to the Catholic Church for two hundred years.

The Age of “Uniatism”

Classical “Uniatism” originated in a similar context, though this time it is not the foreign but the home missions, during the Catholic Reformation and the struggle with the Protestants for the soul of Europe. In this struggle the Orthodox Church was in a sense a bystander caught up in the crossfire of the main belligerants. The scenario is the 16th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where on October 19, 1596, in the church of St. Nicholas in the city of Brest in what was then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, five of the seven Orthodox bishops in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth entered into union with the Holy See.[10] This union, far from being “forced” or “imposed” on the Orthodox, as one always hears said, was the outcome not only of long negotiations, but also of a parallel religious movement tirelessly propagated for twenty years by the Polish Jesuit Peter Skarga. One of the great literary and religious figures of Counter-Reformation Poland, Skarga was for his homeland what St. Peter Canisius was for Germany. Skarga’s book On the Unity of the Church of God under One Pastor, published at Vilna in 1577, was without equal in promoting the cause of conversion to Catholicism.[11] Second only to Skarga as a vigorous promoter of the Catholic cause was the ubiquitous Italian Jesuit Antonio Possevino, better known to history for his more spectacular missions as a Papal Nuncio, especially to the Court of Ivan the Terrible, to whom the subject of Church Union was broached only to be rudely rejected. In the famous scene that has become a familiar part of history, as well as an active prophecy of the level of later Orthodox-Catholic relations, the Tsar insulted the pope and raised his scepter against the papal envoy who had pressed the cause of Church union.

But these Jesuits, far from inventing “Uniatism,” as they are often accused, took a dim view of Ruthenian Orthodoxy and favored conversion of the Ruthenians to the Roman Church plain and simple. By then it was evident that the prospect of a general return to the Union of Florence had become impracticable, and Possevino’s exchange with Ivan the Terrible confirmed it. But the idea of a regional, corporate reunion based on the precedents established at Florence in 1439— the Ruthenians would enter the Catholic Church as a body, preserving their own hierarchy and rite— was not the invention of the Jesuits. Initially, at least, the Union was not viewed favorably by any of the three parties— Rome, the Poles, and the Jesuits— traditionally indicted in the mythological view.

Far from being the result of some preconceived Catholic strategy, “Uniatism” was wholly an invention of the Ruthenian Orthodox bishops themselves. It grew out of the difficult situation in which the Ruthenian Orthodox hierarchy of the day found itself, between Moscow and Poland, Reform and Counter-Reformation. Of course these hierarchs did not see it as, nor desire it to be, a break with Orthodoxy. On the contrary, it aimed to protect the unity of the Ruthenian Orthodox Church, at that time under stress from a multitude of factors, including the desire of the Ruthenian bishops to preserve their independence over against the powerful independent Brotherhoods supported by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Ruthenian lands, the pretentions of Moscow from the East, and the pressure of Reformation and Counter-Reformation proselytism from the West. All of this has been amply demonstrated by the latest historical scholarship on the question.[12] In the well-informed, balanced and objective view of historian Ambroise Jobert, “The Union of Brest is not the work of Polish or Roman policies. The Ruthenian bishops, irritated by the reforms of [Constantinopolitan patriarch] Jeremias II, requested it, the Polish court decided, not without hestitation, to risk it, and Rome received the Ruthenians into union without making any precise commitments in their regard.” [13]

Despite fierce opposition from the Orthodox and even violent persecution from the Cossacks and later in the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great (1762-1796) and Nicholas I (1796-1855),[14] the Eastern Catholic Churches issuing from the 1596 Union of Brest and later unions consolidated and developed, especially where they had the protection of a Catholic regime, as under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There they acquired the name “Greek Catholics,” to distinguish them from the Latins.

The Communist Suppression of the Eastern Catholic Churches

All this would change dramatically with the westward expansion of the Soviet Empire following the Second World War. There is no way one can fairly judge the present tense ecumenical situation between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics in the former Communist East Bloc without an objective view of the martyrdom of the Greek Catholic Churches from the end of World War II until 1989. Attempts to attenuate or deny this history merit the same contempt now given to renewed attempts to deny the Holocaust. As His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew II said after Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. George in the Phanar on the feast of St. Andrew this year, “Revisiting the past and examining human faults must continue in all directions . . . because whoever consents to the misdeeds of another or tolerates them by his silence, shares the responsibility of their author.” [15] It is in this exact same spirit that I recount what follows.

The forced reunions with the Orthodox Church began at the Pseudo-Synod of Lviv, capital of Galicia (Halychnya) in Western Ukraine, an area occupied in 1939 by Hitler’s Soviet allies and definitively incorporated into the USSR at the end of World War II. Lviv was the metropolitan see of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to which most of the population of Western Ukraine belonged. A Polish Orthodox parish in Lviv was the only Orthodox Church in the entire region. The Russian Orthodox Church had no representation there at all. Only in the light of these simple facts can the oft-repeated and widely publicized present Russian Orthodox complaints about losing to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church almost all their Churches in the region of Galicia be placed in their proper context.[16]

In the winter of 1944-45 the Soviet regime prohibited all contact of the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy with its clergy and faithful and initiated a campaign of forced meetings and propaganda in favor of union with the Russian Orthodox Church. Opponents were arrested and tortured. In April 1945 the entire Greek Catholic hierarchy was imprisoned. The Soviet regime recognized the “Initiative Group” of three Catholic priests, formed to carry out the government plan, as the sole authority over the Church, instructing them to make lists of all clergy who refused to recognize their authority. Under police protection, this group carried out a feverish campaign of propaganda and threats. The NKVD pressured the unwilling clergy to sign a petition for union with Orthodoxy. Those who refused were arrested. At the end of February, thirteen Catholic priests were received into Orthodoxy in Kiev, and the two celibate members of the “Initiative Group” were secretly consecrated Orthodox bishops. Their leader, Havriyil Kostel’nyk, a married priest, was elevated to the rank of mitred archpriest, the highest dignity open to the married clergy.[17]

On March 8-10, 1946, a “synod” of 216 terrorized priests and nineteen laypersons, orchestrated in Lviv under the leadership of this group, abolished the Union of Brest (1596). This purported to be a synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. To this day the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed it to be such and has steadfastly refused to repudiate either the synod or its own role in the charade. But as the Russian Orthodox Church authorities are well aware, the entire Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy was in prison; and the entire presidium of the synod had in fact already become Orthodox, though this was kept secret until the farce was a fait accompli. The action was followed by massive arrests, interrogations, abuse, trials, banishment and deportations, causing incalculable suffering and death.

Russian Orthodox authorities ever since have defended what was done as a canonically legitimate synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, that freely and legitimately abolished of the “forced” Union of Brest. To this day they have refused to disclaim or condemn it. The Acts of the synod were published in Ukrainian in Lviv in 1946. In 1982 the Moscow Patriarchate issued bowdlerized (i.e., deliberately doctored) versions in Russian and English for the 45th anniversary of the shameful charade. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was not destroyed but driven underground, to reemerge maimed but still vigorously alive when finally granted freedom in 1989. That time almost the entire Russian Orthodox Church in Western Ukraine, clergy, parishes, and faithful, re-entered the Catholic Church en masse.

Similar forced renions with the Orthodox Church took place in 1947 in Transcarpathia, 1948 in Romania, and 1950 in Slovakia.

These are the unvarnished facts. This history is important for several reasons. First, it shows the demonstrable falsity of the accusation that the Catholic Church has “reinvented” or “resurrected” a dead and gone “Uniatism,” thereby stalling the Orthodox- Catholic ecumenical dialogue. A more nuanced view, one corresponding to the historical facts, leads one to recognize the following realities. Eastern Catholics were forced into the underground in the 1940’s by one of the bitterest and most violent persecutions in Christian history. Although this was done by Stalinist regimes, there is abundant and irrefutable evidence that it had the active support and/or collaboration of at least some Orthodox hierarchs and authoritative exponents. Each case must be taken by itself; and justice demands avoiding generalization. But there can be no doubt that ambiguous figures like Patriarch Justinian Marina in Romania and Archbishop Makarij Oksijuk in Lviv and Transcarpathia, were active participants in these historic violations of human rights. One of the chief Romanian Orthodox ideologues of modern times, the Orthodox priest and noted theologian Rev. Dumitru Staniloae (d. 5 Oct. 1993), gave wholehearted vocal support for this massive violation of human rights, insisting that the “reunion [of Greek Catholics with the Orthodox Church which took place in 1948] was entirely free and spontaneous.[18] This is not only a patent lie; it is also a denial of the bitter suffering of martyrs.[19]

Thereafter, authoritative Orthodox exponents carried on for forty years a hateful, mendacious campaign concerning every aspect of the life and history of the Greek Catholic Churches and of their “reintegration with the Mother Church” in the 1940’s. As late as 1987, during the Gorbachev era when toadying to the party line was no longer a matter of life or death, then Moscow Patriarch Pimen gave this mendacious account of these events to the Italian journalist Alceste Santini:
The anti-Uniate sentiments of the faithful of Galicia and Transcarpathia were strengthened especially during the last war, when the Uniate hierarchy sided with the enemy of the fatherland, the German Nazi invaders. Such collaboration on the part of the leaders of the Greek Catholic Church provoked a natural reaction. And so the completion of the process of liberation from the union [with Rome] which was expressed in the Synods of 1946 in Lvov [Lviv] and of 1949 in Mukachevo gave rise to great satisfaction among the believers of Galicia and Transcarpathia.[20]
The business about the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy and the Nazis is an oft-repeated calumny of the Soviets, who were, let us never forget, Hitler’s allies in the 1939 invasion of Poland and Western Ukraine.[21] Of course, after twenty-one years of Soviet rule, practically everyone in the USSR initially welcomed the Germans as liberators.[22]

And one can only speculate to what “fatherland” Patriarch Pimen claims the Catholic bishops were being disloyal, since before World War II Galicia was part of Poland, not the USSR. Furthermore, no synod whatever was held in Mukachevo, as Pimen knew perfectly well; and I have already detailed above the realities of the Lviv “synod.”

This is but one of literally dozens of examples I have on file of mendacious public denials of the past from the highest Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities of the Soviet Bloc, a denial rendered even more ludicrous by the fact that even the NKVD agents responsible for orchestrating the drumhead 1946 Lviv synod have in the meantime spilled the beans publicly and in print.[23]

Apart from some religious dissidents condemned by their own Church authorities and some secular scholars of good will like Andrej Sakharov, slow and reluctant admissions of truth began to come from some official exponents of the Orthodox Churches. These admissions came only after continuing the mendacity became embarrassingly counterproductive, when the world press, at last interesting itself in the issue, began to publish the true story.

Meanwhile the Greek Catholic Churches, some of whose membership (almost all in Galicia, Transcarpathia, and Slovakia; far fewer in Romania where the history and circumstances were quite different), having remained steadfast in their convictions, emerged from the catacombs to which they had been relegated and began to reclaim their heritage and give the lie to the systematic slandering of them and their history over the past fifty years. So there was no “rebirth of Uniatism,” just an end to persecution and the shameful conspiracy of silence.

With this historical freight in the background, no person of fairness and good will can be surprised at the present tensions between Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox in the former Soviet Union, especially in the light of continued Orthodox stonewalling in refusing to repudiate definitively and officially the forced “reunions” of 1946-1950.

Inevitably, the emergence from the underground of the persecuted Eastern Catholic Churches has led to confessional conflicts and a resurgence of traditional Orthodox anti- Roman hysteria. As Catholics struggle with the issue via an examination of conscience that is often painful, much Orthodox writing on the topic, highly biased, is often little more than a mélange of hysteria and lies.[24]

Painful as all this is for anyone with a modicum of common sense and Christian spirit, almost everyone (except for a couple of local Orthodox Churches which systematically boycott the dialogue) is in agreement that the dialogue must continue. But how? Those of good will on both sides of the dialogue are in agreement that “Uniatism,” as I have described it, must be rejected as no longer acceptable method for the future. But the past also not dealt with is a real problem blocking any future progress. That why of late Pope John Paul II has repeatedly called healing or purification of memory a way of dealing with the past. From my point of view as an historian, this will require each side to confront our common historical objectivity and truth, own up to responsibilities, seek forgiveness, then turn the page and move on, hopefully to a better future.

We can change the future, but we cannot change the past. It is the bitter heritage of this past that is blocking all ecumenical progress today. The hostilities created by that dolorous past are deep-rooted in the psyche of Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, so deep-rooted that the average westerner finds them perplexing, at times even infantile and ridiculous. All of which provides stark confirmation of the need for “the healing or purification of memory.” In the twofold process of 1) facing up to the past and 2) then moving beyond it to a better future, step 2 is the work of the official ecumenical dialogue between our two Churches. Step 1, however, “the purification and healing of memories,” involves everyone.

In many ways this healing of the historical memory is the most difficult step. For nations and peoples live not by their histories but by their myths, As one historian— I think it was Timothy Garton Ash of Oxford— put it, “A nation is a group of people who hold the same mistaken view of their common history.” So in this context I would like to suggest some hermeneutical principles I consider essential to arriving at a balanced view of our common past.

Contrary to what is usually imagined by the non-historian, history is not the past but a vision of the past, in itself a complex reality. For ecumenism to advance, we must put aside our own limited, often hagiographical view of our past and seek to understand how others see us. Since criticism, like charity, should begin at home, and since I am a Jesuit, I illustrated this point already by making a Jesuit examination of conscience on some aspects of our role in the problem of “Uniatism.”

But if we are to make ecumenical progress, such hard-nosed reflection on our past cannot be restricted to Jesuits and Catholics. The Orthodox, too, must reach the point where they can make their own frank examination of conscience. Western Christianity’s historic defects of imperialism, power, and domination led to the historic crimes for which Pope John Paul II asked pardon in Rome on the First Sunday of Lent this year. An Orthodox response was not long in coming: Metropolitan Kallinkos of Piraeus, an official spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church,[25] and Russian Orthodox Bishop Pavel of Vienna,[26] responded to the pope’s request for pardon and forgiveness not by forgiving and asking forgiveness in turn, but by declaring that the Orthodox Church had not done anything for which it needed to ask pardon.

Such responses are hardly helpful. Apart from the fact that they lead the press to subject their authors to sarcasm and derision, they are also untrue. A short list of what the Orthodox might reflect on were they to examine their historical conscience would begin in Byzantine times with the forced conversion of Jews already from the 4/5th centuries but especially in the 6/7th; with the persecution of the Armenians and Copts in the aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451); the forced unions of Armenians with the Byzantine Church, for example in AD 590 under Emperor Maurice (582-602),[27] a clear example of Orthodox “Uniatism,” repeated in modern times by the Russian Orthodox mission among the Assyrians,[28] and the “Western-rite Orthodoxy” fostered in North America and, formerly, in France,[29] despite repeated Orthodox claims that “Uniatism” is an exclusively Western phenomenon. To this we can add the incorporation into the Patriarchate of Constantinople by political force of areas that belonged by age-old right to the Western Patriarchate under Rome and the imposition by force of Byzantine ecclesiastical authority on conquered areas of the non-Orthodox East[30] or of Catholic southern Italy.[31]

The latter provides an interesting parallel to the Crusades, about which the Orthodox remain continually exercised, collapsing chronology and acting as if the Crusades happened yesterday. By the end of the 6th century A.D., Southern Italy was almost totally Latin except for colonies of Greeks in Reggio-Calabria and some of the coastal towns. This situation was to change rapidly from the 7th century, when the campaign of Constans II (647-668) drove the Saracens from Sicily, reviving Greek imperial and ecclesiastical hegemony there and in Calabria. The Byzantine reconquest of S. Italy was carried out with thorough consistency across the whole socio-political horizon, including the ecclesiastical. Those who deplore the incursions of the Latin Crusaders in the East and their setting up of Latin hierarchies in competition with the already existing age-old Oriental ecclesiastical structures conveniently forget that the Byzantines did the exact same thing in Italy. Their military help against the Arab incursions in Italy was no more disinterested than the Latin help against the Turks during the Crusades. Byzantine ecclesiastical politics in Italy also involved an imposed religious Byzantinization of the areas that fell under their political control. For example, towards the middle of the 8th century, the Byzantines removed from the Roman obedience and placed under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of New Rome the dioceses of Calabria, Sicily, Eastern Illyricum, and perhaps also Otranto—-- all areas historically within the Patriarchate of the West from time immemorial.[32]

Medieval and modern examples would have to include the anti-Latin pogroms in Constantinople in the years immediately preceding the Fourth Crusade (1204), the Russian Church’s persecution of the Old Believers in the 17th century and forcible suppression of the Georgian Catholicosate in 1811, the persecution and martyrdom of Catholics in the Russian Empire following the partitions of Poland, and the active collaboration of some Orthodox leaders in the post-World War II events already referred to.

Of course some (though by no means all) such incidents were the work of governments and seculars rather than Churches or ecclesiastics. But the same is true of events like the Crusades. “The separation of Church and State” is a modern “western” concept without meaning when applied to earlier centuries. So mythology and polemics aside, neither “Uniatism” nor the use of force were a Catholic invention. They were part of the spirit of the times; and pressure to change religious confession was exercised by Calvinists, Catholics, and Orthodox alike.[33] Nor was this process only interconfessional: it happened within Orthodoxy too. As the Russian Empire seized lands under the jursdiction of other Orthodox Churches, the local non-Russian Slavic, Georgian, and Bessarabian Orthodox were incorporated willy-nilly into the Russian Church and subjected to religious and cultural Russification. In some areas of Eastern Poland absorbed by Russia, Latin Catholics were also subjected to this process; and some even lost their lives in the struggle.[34] The hatred this inevitably produced contributed to exacerbating the deplorable violence against Orthodox and the destruction of Orthodox churches in Eastern Poland when that country regained independence in the settlement following World War I.[35]

Telling the history of such past crimes justifies nothing, of course— but it does explain. For nothing happens without a reason; and to recount tragic events without also exposing what provoked them, or to recount only that half of the story that favors one’s own side, is not history but confessional propaganda. So instead of laying all responsibility for the present situation at the feet of the Catholic Church, even indicting the person of Pope John Paul II, as in a recent statement of Moscow Patriarch Aleksij II,[36] an unbiased analysis of the facts would show that the present siuation is entirely the result of Soviet persecutions and that the Russian Orthodox dioceses Patriarch Aleksij claims the Catholic Church destroyed were not in origin Orthodox dioceses at all, but Ukrainian Greek Catholics forced into Orthodoxy in the already recounted events of 1946. This is confirmed by the fact that in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia, the three East- Bloc countries where the Greek Catholic Churches were not forcibly incorporated into Orthodoxy, none of these problems have arisen. The Eastern Catholic Churches there continue to live their lives in relative peace and are a threat to none.

So any true history must be integral not selective; and mature communities must accept responsibility for their entire past, not just for those selective episodes that they find serviceable to support a prejudicial vision of their virtues and others’ defects. With respect to “Uniatism,” then, Catholics must face up to the fact that, contrary to their mythologies, they have acted throughout much of history as an aggressor with respect to the Christian East; and the bitterness this has provoked must be laid squarely at their door.

But the Orthodox, too, must face up to their own responsibilities for the phenomenon known as “Uniatism.” For not all “Uniate” movements were the result of Catholic machinations. Bulgarian “Uniatism” was at least partly instigated by Constantinopolitan Greek Orthodox imperialism via-à-vis the Bulgarian Church. And the numerically tiny but by no means spiritually and intellectually negligible Russian Catholic Exarchate in Russia on the eve of the Revolution was a spontaneous movement from within the Russian Orthodox Church itself, largely among intellectuals and people of some substance, including several Orthodox priests, who were less than satisfied with the condition of their Church (reduced to little more than a department of the state since the time of Peter the Great), but refused to abandon their native religious heritage for that of Latin Catholicism.

Only the re-establishment of communion between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will solve these problems satisfactorily. But if, in the meantime, solutions must remain provisional, interim answers to the pastoral and ecumenical problems posed by the existence of Eastern Catholic Churches must be sought with charity, objectivity, and realism, without the anachronistic, reductionist simplifications of history to which these communities are too often subjected by those who have concluded that the new age of ecumenism permits them to leave those they contemptuosly refer to as “Uniates” behind, making them easy game and dispensing their critics from the basic demands of human decency, truth, and justice, to say nothing of Christian charity.

Until the phenomenon of “Uniatism” in its origins and the factors behind those origins, in its history and in its present reality, comes to be viewed with more respect for historical truth, I see little hope for any lasting substantial progress in Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism. Both Catholics and Orthodox must reach the point where they can view and discuss not only “Uniatism’s” origins, but also its past and present history— all of it— without gliding over the problematic nature, in some (though by no means in all) instances, of its origins, its ultimate development, and its ideology, as Catholics have tended to do; but also without the use of selective memory, the double standard, the hysteria and even outright slander with which Orthodox writings too often treat it.

As the Russian historian Medvedev said in the title of his devastating exposé of Stalinism, K sudu istorii— “Let history judge.” Like it or not, no other principle will ever have any definitive validity in human affairs. That does not mean we do not forgive, nor does it mean we cannot, must not turn the page and move on. But I am firmly convinced that until both Catholics and Orthodox can put aside all confessional propaganda masquerading as history, look at this reality without blinkers or colored glasses, and see it as it is, with each side accepting its responsiblities, where necessary, in the condemnable aspects of its history, we are going to get absolutely nowhere.

For the Orthodox, this demands a clear recognition of the truth regarding the dolorous events of the 1940’s. Until the Orthodox come to recognize this history openly and without reservation, and until they own up to and repudiate publicly the active role some of their leaders played in the dolorous history of the forcible suppression of these Churches, their failure to protest this crime against humanity and their lying about for over fifty years, will, in my view, continue to render real ecumenical progress impossible. The days when the sufferings and the sensibilities of millions of Byzantine Catholics could be ignored or bypassed is over. Anyone who thinks the Balamond Statement, (though undoubtedly a great step forward from almost every point of view) does the trick, here with its admission of “unacceptable means” by civil governments in the 1940’s debacle, is not being realistic. Though of course the statement is per se true, it is true in the same sense that it would be true to describe the Holocaust as “an activity not entirely favorable to the Jews.” That won’t do for genocide, and Balamond won’t do for what was “ecciesiacide.”

Where do we go from here? Let us make one thing crystal clear: until an adquate, equitable, and mutually acceptable solution is found to these problems caused by “Uniatism,” defects in the origins or history of any Church cannot be used to impugn its present natural human right to existence, to justice, and to its own history. What has been said above against “Uniatism” can in no way justify calling into question the natural-law right to existence, and the freedom to be exactly what they want to be, of the Eastern Catholics both as individuals and as Churches. Life is not a history lesson, and the right to existence of any individual or group can never be at the mercy of anyone outside that group. This includes not just the right to exist— i.e., not to be physically exterminated. It also includes the right to their identity and tradition, and the right to their history— i.e., the right not to have their past or present slandered and defamed.

The notion that the right to existence of the Eastern Catholic Churches can be challenged on the basis of what happened three or four hundred years ago is historically and morally absurd. Did politics and even coercion have a part in the establishment of these Churches? Of course they did, just as they did in the establishment of Lutheranism and the Anglican Church. Or does someone think Henry VIII took a plebiscite to see if the English yeomanry wanted to separate from Rome? Does someone think the 16th-century German princelings who went over to the Reform, taking with them their principalities and all the Catholics within their borders, first put the issue to a vote?

Here I think we can all learn from the much-maligned modern secular West. It is this “western” culture, as the Russian Orthodox writer Alexander Solzhenitsin and others have pointed out, that invented “modernity” and its traditional values: a public life that is democratic and civil; respect for individuals and their civil and religious rights; a tradition of public service and beneficence in favor of the striken or disadvantaged both at home and abroad; an academic, intellectual, artistic and cultural life free of political restraint or the manipulation of state-ideology, and open to all; to name but a few of its qualities. Those educated in this oft-derided “western” culture seek to acquire habits of thought and judgment, ways of behaving and acting, that I think we should try to instill in all those we have contact with. Deliberately setting aside intemperate condemnation and unfair caricature, the virulent, the scurrilous, the emotional, the one-sided, the vituperative, the rude and dishonorable, the educated mind tries, instead, to respond to criticisms by a study of the facts.

What we need is what the much-maligned “western” academic culture espouses: the secular virtues of fairness, reciprocity, and the capacity for objective, coherent, logical thought. These ideals have deep roots in eastern spirituality, too. A recent article on the Fathers of the Desert in the ecumenical journal Sobornost was entitled “radical honesty about self,” a virtue at the basis of all true spirituality, but one, unfortunately, that can hardly be called common coin in much of the Christian world today. They are, however, qualities espoused by Orthodox authors of the diaspora who have imbibed what is best in this culture. Contrast, for example, the statements quoted about about there being no question of any Orthodox mea culpa with the sentiments Profs. Nicholas Lossky of St. Serge Institute of Orthodox Theology in Paris expressed at the 37th meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue in France on May 16, 1997, calling for an “ethic of dialogue” comprising “absolute intellectual honesty, especially in the re-reading of our common history, and in the recognition of our own faults...”

I think that these qualities of honesty, coherence, consistency, self-criticism, objectivity, fairness, moderation and courtesy of tone and language even when in disagreement— which I unabashedly call “western” because that is where they originated and where one sees them espoused and lived— are already elemental ideals and broadly acquired realities in the Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue. The point if not that we never disagree. What it does mean is at the official level, disagreements can be discussed truthfully and courteously, without invective, rudeness, and slander. This is a source of great hope, when one realizes that not many centuries ago Catholics and Anglicans were killing one another, or how recently Catholics acquired basic civil rights in England. So maybe there is hope after all for the Orthodox and Catholics too, but until hearts and minds are changed, none of our other ecumenical efforts will amount to anything of substance for the unity of the Churches of God. Let us not doubt for one minute that this has repercussions for humanity that go far beyond the question of Christian unity. One thing the 20th century, and especially the Holocaust, has taught us is that there is no such thing as ideological neutrality. One is part of the solution or part of the problem, an instrument of peace and love or an ideologue of division and hatred. I have spoken the truth with frankness. I trust I have not mistaken my audience. As Conor Cruise O’Brien has said, “Respect for truth, intellectual courage in the telling of truth: these are the qualities of a real, of a living university.”[37]

Thank you for your attention.

21st Kelly Lecture, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, Canada (Dec.1, 2000)


1.This despite the customary diplomatic language of the official press releases: SEIA Newsletter on the Eastern Churches and Ecumenism, no. 58 (July 20, 2000) 2.

2. I use the term “Uniatism” in quotation marks, because it is a pejorative term most Eastern Catholics consider gratuitously offensive.

3. For a fair and objective recent Catholic analysis of the problem, see Ernst C. Suttner, Church Unity. Union or Uniatism? Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical Perspectives (Rome: Centre for Indian and Interreligious Studies/Bangalore: Dhamaram Publications, 1991).

4. On this see the remarks of Suttner, Church Unity 5-6, and esp. 58-62.

5. See for example the July 18, 1231 bull of Gregory IX (1227-1241) in A.G. Welykyj OSBM (ed.), Documenta Pontificum Romanorum Historiam Ucrainae lllustrantia (1075-1953), 2. vols., (Analecta OSBM, series II, section III, PP. Basiliani, Rome 1953-1954), vol. I (1075-1700) 19-20, and numerous other pertinent documents; cf. James J. Zatko, The Union of Suzdal, 1222-1252, JEH 8 (1957) 33-52, here 36; A.M. Ammann, Kirchenpolitische Wandlungen im Ostbaltikum bis zum Tode Alexander Newskis. Studien zum Werden der russischen Orthodoxie (OCA 105, Rome 1936) ch. 111.3.

6. For example in 13th c. Cyprus under Latin domination, the Orthodox were free to elect their own bishops.

7. See K.T. Ware, “Orthodox and Catholics in the Seventeenth Century: Schism or Intercommunion,”: in D. Baker (ed.), Schism, Heresy and Relgious Protest (Studies in Church History 9, Cambridge 1972) 259- 276.

8. Three recent books illustrate all too painfully what a comedy of errors modern Catholic policy toward the Christian East, and especially toward Russia, has been: G. M. Croce, La Badia Greca di Grottaferrata e Ia Rivista “Roma e lOriente, 2 vols. (Vatican: Libreria Editnce Vaticana 1990); A. Tamborra, Chiesa cattolica e Ortodossia russa: Due secoli di con fronto e dialogo. Dalla Santa Allianza ai nostri giorni (Cinisello Balsamo [Milano]: Ed. Paoline 1991); L Tretjakewitsch, Bishop Michel dHerbigny SJ and Russia. A Pre-Ecumenical approach to Christian Unity (Das östliche Christentum, Neue Folge, Bd. 39. Wurzburg: Augustinus Verlag 1990). In this context, notethat the first two of these books represent a devastatingly honest self-criticism by Catholic authors.

9. This has been detailed in E. Chr. Suttner, Jesuiten Heifer und Argernis für die Kirchen des Ostens, Der christliche Osten 49 no. 2 (1994) 80-95. Prof. Suttner of the University of Vienna is a Catholic priest and no enemy of the Society of Jesus.

10.For an objective account of these events and their aftermath, the latest study is B.A. Gudziak, Crisis and Reform The Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Genesis of the Union of Brest (Harvard Ukrainian Institute, Harvard Series in Ukrainian, Harvard University Press 1998). See also A. Jobert, De Luther à Mohila. La Pologne dans Ia cnse de Ia Chrétienté, 1517-1648 (Collection historique de I'Institut d'études slaves, Paris 1974). For briefer accounts of the situation with historical objectivity in Sophia Senyk, Vicissitudes de I'Union de Brest au XVlle siècle, Irénikon 65 (1992) 462-487; eadem, The Background of the Union of Brest, Analecta OSBM 21 (1996) 103-144; Silverio Saulle, L'Unione di Brest. Genesi e sviluppi storici, Studi sullOriente cristiano 2/1 (1998) 137-164, 2/2 (1998) 137-1 67.

11.It went through two editions largely because the Ruthenian nobles, enemies of the Union, had bought up and burnt so many copies of the first edition.

12. See note 10 above.

13. Jobert, De Luther à Mohila 343. For an Orthodox account in the same sense, see also
Jean-Claude Roberti, Les Uniates (Fides 44, Paris 1992) 75.

14. Suttner, Church Unity 83ff; W. Lencyk, The Eastern Catholic Church and Czar Nicholas I (New York 1966). Further literature in Suttner, Church Unity 124-5 note 70.

15. Translated from the French as reported in Irénikon 73 (2000) 112.

16 . Only in the light of the facts can one evaluate fairly, and in context, statements like the one made by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in an interview in Odyssey (August/Sept. 1993) 34: And in Russia, even if the Uniates owned the Churches before Stalin, today the ratio of Uniates to Orthodox in these places has changed. There are far more Orthodox today than Uniates, so the latter cannot claim these buildings and want to take them back, be they schools or Churches, because where will the Orthodox go? Where will they commune? In the street? This is not Christian. Regarding the area in question, Galicia in Western Ukraine, where Greek Catholics were and are again the majority, that statement is simply false. And, I might add, where but in the street are many Romanian Greek Catholics, still deprived of their churches, celebrating liturgies in Romania?

17. He was assassinated, presumably by his Soviet handlers, on Sept. 20, 1948.

18.Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, Contemporary Romanian Orthodox Ecclesiology: the Contribution of Dumitru Staniloae and Younger Colleagues (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome 1988) 208-209; cf. 206-212 for a complete discussion, with abundant bibliography and citations from Staniloae's in support of the forced reintegration. Roberson is sympathetic to the figure on whom he chose to write his thesis, which makes the documentation he presents more devestating. On negative aspects of Stanisloaes career before and after the Communist period, see: Olivier Gillet, Religion et nationalisme. L'idéologie de I'Église orthodoxe roumaine sous le régime communiste (Collection «Spiritualités et pensées libres», Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, Bruxelles 1997) 92, 136.

19. The publication in western, even Catholic journals of laudatory necrologies (e.g., lrénikon 66, 1993; Sobornost 16:1, 1994) of this apologist for one of the 20th century’s great crimes against humanity without a word about this aspect of his career must be branded a moral scandal.

20. Mule anni di fede in Russia. Pimen, Patriarca di Mosca e di tutte le Russie intervistato da Alceste Santini (Cinisello Balsamo [Milano]: Edizioni Paoline, 1987) 216.

21. Most recently on the topic, see Werner Maser, Der Wortbruch: Hitler, Stalin und der Zweite Weltkrieg (Munich: Günter Olzog Verlag, 1994).

22. The matter has been treated with historical objectivity by an author who is by no means an apologist for the Catholic Church: Hansjakob Stehle, Sheptytskyi and the German Regime, in P.R. Magocsi (ed.), Morality and Reality. The Life and Times of Andrei Sheptytskyi (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton 1989) 125-144. Sheptytskyi was the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church during the war, Stehle says. Quite unlike the Orthodox Metropolitan Polikarp [of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church] who, as late as May 1944, was still praying for Hitler’s victory over the Jewish Communists, Metropolitan Sheptytskyi grounded his hope exclusively in religious faith (ibid. 139). For a Jewish witness to Sheptytsky’s efforts to save Jews of Lviv from the Nazi occupiers, see Rabbi David Kahane, Lvov Ghetto Diary (Amherst: University of Mass. Press, 1990).

23. See Serge Keleher, Passion ad Resurrection The Greek Catholic Church in Soviet Ukraine 1939-1989 (Lviv: Stauropegion, 1993), with its rich Appendix of historic documents (pp. 187-298), all from the Soviet period, including the fascinating account, Here We Are Lord!, first published in Russian in the well-known Soviet satirical journal, Moscow, N” 38 (Sept. 1989) 6-8, giving the true story of the Lviv pseudo-synod of March 8-10, 1946, with the testimony of a sixty-year old colonel of the Soviet security forces, who had been an actual participant in the farce, ironically juxtaposed with contemporary statements from Russian Orthodox Metropolitan (now patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate) Filaret (Denysenko) of Kiev and Galicia (p. 264) repeating the customary lies claiming the reunion orchestrated by the 1946 Lviv Pseudo-Council had been free, as in the official Soviet line on the reunion. See B.R. Bociurkiw, The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Soviet State (1939-1950) (Edmonton/Toronto: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1996) 179-80, esp. note 127, and 238-43; on Filaret, 241. Among the other documents, many available here in English for the first time, are: The Articles of the Union of Brest; the Decrees of the Eparchial Synod of the Greek Catholic Church in Petrograd, May 29- 31, 1917; the letter to Molotov of Greek Catholic priests repudiating the activities of the Initiatory Group formed in 1945 to instigate the forced reunion with the Orthodox Church; the January 15/28, 1950 pastoral letter of the Orthodox bishops in Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia concerning the consolidation of the reunion with Orthodoxy and the abolition of Catholic or Latin practices from the liturgy; The Life of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, a January 1980 document from the underground Church detailing the Churchs continued exisence and the persecution it was undergoing; the August 4, 1987 Open Letter to His Holiness John Paul II from the bishops, priests, monastics and faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, publicly announcing their emergence from the underground because of the better conditions under Gorbachev; the April 7, 1989 appeal to Gorbachev; the April 7, 1989 letter of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sterniuk) of Lviv to Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishop Isidore (Boretsky) of Toronto and Eastern Canada, and the latters response; the August 27, 1989 pastoral letter of the same Metropolitan Volodymyr of Lviv and Halych, the first formal public statement of the metropolitan to his flock in Ukraine; the September 1989 open letter to Gorbachev of leading Ukrainian intellectuals. The rambling account concludes with eyewitness testimony of the Church’s spontaneous rebirth in the Gorbachev period, followed by documents relative to Gorbachev’s meeting with Pope John Paul II on December 1, 1989; the Declaration of the Council for Religious affairs at the Council of Ministers of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic concerning their intention to resolve positively the problem of the freedom of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; and, finally, the Statement of the March 17, 1990 Synod of Bishops of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine on the interruption of the negotiations of the Quadripartite Commission for the Normalization of Relations between the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches in Western Ukraine.

24.This problem, too, can be understood and resolved only with attention to its objective historical context. Numerous statements from the Moscow Patriarchate state clearly the Orthodox postion on this matter. One recent example will have to suffice. Accusing the Catholic Church of proselytizing in Russia and Ukraine, Moscow Patriarch Aleksij II said on June 10: I find it hard to understand when, in the 20th century, I see three Orthodox dioceses being crushed by Catholics in Ukraine, when people are run out of their churches, priests are beaten and saints are blasphemed against... The Patriarch accused Pope John Paul II of failing to condemn the actions of the Uniate Church, which has occupied a number of Russian Orthodox churches and let other Orthodox sites be desecrated. This is not how you should treat a sister church, as Catholics call the Orthodox... Proselytism, which turns people who have been baptized into Orthodoxy, or who are Orthodox by their very roots, to Catholicism this also cannot take place between sister churches. This makes our relations difficult today. As reported in SEIA no. 57 (June 27, 2000) 3. See in this regard the very courteous, respectful, moderate in tone, but also forthright reply of Bishop Lubomyr Husar of Lviv, auxiliary to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church: Risposta ad Alessio II, II regno. Anno XLV N. 865 (15 settembre 2000) 51 2-1 5; id., I greco-cattolic rispondon, La nuova Europa N. 5 (settembre-ottobre 2000) 53-56.

25. SOP 247 (avril 2000)14.

26. Bischof Pawel: Mea cupa is der Orthodoxie unnotig. KNS press interview in Vienna as reported by Gertraud lllmeier in Pressespiegel pro Oriente Nr. 115 (2000) 19-20: see also Glaube in der 2. Welt 28 (2000) Nr. 6, pp. 6-7.

27. Nina G. GarsoIan, “Secular Jurisdiction over the Armenian Church (Fourth-Seventh Centuries),” in C. Mango, 0. Pritsak (eds.), Okeanos: Essays presented to I. evaenko (Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7, Cambridge, Mass. 1983) 228; eadem, “The Armenian Church between Byzantium and the East,” in Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Art, Religion, and Society. Papers Delivered at the Pierpont Morgan Library at a Symposium Organized by Thomas F. Mathews and Roger S. Wieck, 21-22 May 1994 (New York 1998) 7 and the references in 11 note 25. See also Suttner, Church Unity 39ff.

28. See J.F. Coakley, The Church of the East and the Church of England: A History of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian Mission (Oxford: Clarendon 1992) 21 6-234.

29. Roberti, Les Uniates 102-7; W.S. Schneirla, The Western Rite in the Orthodox Church, 2/2 (1958) 2045, and the discussion in ibid. 2/4 (1958) 37-38, 3/1 (1959) 36-37; Missel orthodoxe. Rit occidental Gallican de s. Germain de Pans (6e siècle). ltalique pré-Célestinien (debut 5e siècle). Missel ou livre de Ia synaxe liturgique approuvé et authorisé pour les églises orthodoxes de rit occidental relevant du Patriarcat de Moscou. Version française officielle établie sur le texte latin original. Edition revue et typique (Collection «Documents liturgiques», supplément de Ia revue «Contacts», n° 38/39, 2e/3e trim. 1962, Paris 1962) with further bibliography on p. 96. According to a recent report, the Western Rite Orthodox Vicariate uder the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North. America has 27 parishes: Eastern Churches Journal 6/3 (1999) 150.

30. Examples in Suttner, Church Unity 38-43.

31. On the history of the Byzantines in Southern Italy see Vera von Falkenhausen, I bizantini in Italia, in G. Cavallo et alii, I bizantini in Italia (Antica Madro, collana di studi sullltalia ant ica, a cura di G. Pugliese Carratelli, Milan 1982) 1-136.

32. See V. Grumel, L'annexion de llllyricum oriental, de la Sicile et de la Calaabre au Patriarcat de Constantinope, Recherches de science religieuse 40 (1951-52)191-200.

33. Our contemporary notions of religious tolerance were totally foreign to that earlier epoch. See O.P. Grell and B. Scribner, Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (New York 1996).

34. Suttner, Church Unity 85.

35. Stephen Joseph Bachtalowsky, CSSR, Nicholas Charnetsky, CSSR. Bishop-Confessor, translated by George J. Perejda, CSSR (Yorkton, Saskatechewan: Publications of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Redeemers Voice Press, nd.) 89-95.

36.See note 23 above.

37. New York Times Review of Books (Sept. 10, 2000) 45.