Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 17, 2008
Ukrainian Catholics want traditions recognized
Fight against 'Roman superiority' is constant says married priest
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
“There is optional celibacy in the Catholic Church.”
Eastern Catholics have come to be considered an “ecumenical stumbling block” for some Orthodox, he said. During the period between Vatican II and the collapse of the Soviet Union some Roman officials said, “Let’s stop supporting these churches.”
“Some Eastern Orthodox don’t like us,” he said. “Humanly speaking, it’s not surprising.”
When Ukrainian Catholics left the Orthodox Church in 1596, they were said to have “switched sides,” to be “traitors” to the Orthodox Church, he said.
For some in Rome “Orthodoxy has become the big prize — what’s a couple of Ukrainians if you can get Moscow on your scale?” he said.
The Eastern Catholics are on the crossroads between East and West, and have no “natural allies,” he said. “When you don’t have any natural allies, you’ve got to cling to the only ally who really counts, the Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Optional celibacy for priests is part of the Eastern tradition. Rome, however, has at times blocked the married priesthood among Eastern Catholics, depending on the disposition of local Roman Catholic bishops, Galadza said.
In Canada, the Roman Catholic bishops have not objected to married priests in the Eastern Catholic churches, but in the United States they have.
Though his Church traces its roots back to Ukraine, he noted it is “not a Catholic Church for Ukrainians.”
“You can be as Canadian as poutine and go to a Ukrainian Catholic Church,” he said. After five to six generations in Canada, Ukrainian Catholics hold many services in English.
What distinguishes the churches that make up the Holy Catholic Church are not ethnicity, but a distinctive theology, spirituality, liturgy and canon law.
One difference in theology, he said, was Western Christianity’s Augustinian understanding that it is natural to sin. The Greek Fathers took a different approach. They said it is not natural to sin, because Jesus exemplified the real human nature.
“Salvation is a matter of becoming a partaker of the divine nature,” he said. “Think of what we are called to. The Greek fathers called it divination, becoming gods by grace.”
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