Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 20, 2006
Cardinal sees Huculak's scholarship as gift to Church
- WCR photo by Glen Argan
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar delivers his homily during the Divine Liturgy.
Scholarly knowledge is the greatest attribute Archbishop Lawrence Huculak will bring to his role as metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, says the Church's worldwide head.
"I know Bishop Lawrence primarily as a scholar," says Cardinal Lubomyr Husar. That scholarship will be of great importance to the Church as it tries to understand its own traditions.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church is currently trying to recover and deepen its knowledge of its own traditions after centuries of their being intermixed with Latin-rite Catholic traditions.
The Ukrainian Church was reunited with Rome in 1596 after centuries of separation. But in the period after the reunion, Ukrainian liturgical and religious traditions were mixed with those of Rome. The Second Vatican Council responded by encouraging the Eastern Catholic churches to rediscover those traditions.
Huculak has a doctorate in Oriental liturgy that he acquired studying under the world's leading expert in that area, ironically a Roman Catholic Jesuit, Father Robert Taft.
Husar said Huculak's background should be useful "in helping those within the tradition to understand (the liturgy) and to love it."
The Byzantine Divine Liturgy should not be "a show" but should be celebrated with deep understanding, he said. The Church in North America can contribute to the larger Ukrainian Catholic Church by helping it to understand its liturgical tradition.
That would help to strengthen the Church's identity. "One has to be very much conscious of why I am the way I am."
As for Huculak, he said, "Maybe this is the moment in history that we need this kind of man in this position."
Husar contended that the fact the Church has a metropolitan in Canada "is not a small thing."
"It is a structural reality that gives unity to the parishes and eparchies and exarchates that are part of it."
The metropolia gives life to the Church, he said. The metropolitan can help people who have the Ukrainian Catholic tradition, but also encourage them to share their faith with others who may have been far from God, the Church or religion.
"This openness is an integral part of our existence here."
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