Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Russian writer fumes at Archimandrite Robert (Taft) remarks
by Vladislav Petrushko
The Vatican cannot come to the realization that the
worsening of relations was caused by the intensification of Catholic
proselytism, most clearly seen in the creation of four Catholic dioceses in
Russia in 2002 and the declaration of a Catholic province, i.e. essentially
an independent metropolia, without any kind of agreement with the Russian
Orthodox Church

I agree that setting up the dioceses was unnecessary but there was an RC diocese in Russia before the Revolution, so it's not unprecedented nor is it necessarily aggression.

For example, the Jesuit allows himself to make
such statements as: "much of what the Russian Orthodox hierarchy does is
because of their own lunatic fringe", "It's extremely difficult for the
Orthodox to face up to their own reality", or "They don't really understand
the uses of history".

Allowable opinion, if a bit harsh.

He adds: "It's a mistake to think the patriarch and
the permanent synod have the kind of control over their hierarchy and their
church that the pope does in the Catholic Church. The patriarch of Moscow
is not a pope

Well, he's not!

He also makes such cynical remarks about the Orthodox: "if
you get bent out of shape, that reaction is going to hurt nobody but
yourself. Nobody. Do we need them? Answer, no. Simple as that".

As I've said before, the RCs have got the money and the resources, by jingo, to really move into Russia and win over the unchurched but out of respect for the Church of Russia don't. So stop your whingeing, Vladislav.

In places Taft even makes downright racist comments: "To attempt to apply rational
analysis to this is to fail to understand what the East is. Once you get
over on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the further you go South or East
from anywhere, the worse everything gets, except the food. Logic gets
worse, rationality gets worse, and everything ultimately winds up in
hysteria and emotionalism. It's futile to try and reason about this".

Nasty, yes, but not racist - these remarks have to do with culture (which is fair game), not with anybody's inherent worth as a human being.

In the interview Taft speaks mostly about the problem of creating a
Patriarchate for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), which western
Ukrainian Uniates
(sic) have sought after for a long time, driven by a strong
desire to end their provincial isolation in L'viv and spread their
influence throughout the entire Ukraine. However, the Vatican knows quite
well that the creation of a Uniate Patriarchate with a centre in Kyiv, as
UGCC head Cardinal Lubomir Husar is hoping for, will exacerbate the already
extremely tense religious situation in the Ukraine.
The creation of the
Patriarchate is not just a matter of four dioceses, and there is no doubt
that if this situation were to continue one can forget about any dialogue
between Moscow and Rome not only for years, but even for decades. But it
seems that this is exactly what Taft wants, as he openly calls on the Greek
Catholics of Galicia to declare the Patriarchate even if this leads to
confrontation with Rome.

...In the interview one can only be appalled by Fr Taft's appeal to Galician
Uniates to "just declare the patriarchate and get on with it", even if Rome
refuses to recognize such a self-proclaimed institute.

Right. Petrushko's and the Church of Russia's understandable and perhaps justifiable quarrel is with Taft and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, not with the Vatican.

If I may say so, this is nothing less than insurrection against the Pope, whom,
it would seem, all Catholics are obliged to recognize not only as the head
of the Church but also as infallible in matters of faith!

And fallible in prudential judgement - Archimandrite Robert agrees with the Orthodox that the Pope makes mistakes (even though he happens to be right about not setting up a patriarchate in Kiev) and that still isn't good enough, apparently. You just can't please some people... which is why Archimandrite Robert says, 'Why bother?'

It seems that Fr Taft was so carried away by his own advice on disobeying Rome that he
didn't even notice how he spoke with the same rough tone when discussing
the papacy and the Catholic Church. The Jesuit remarks in all seriousness:
"What we've made out of the papacy is simply ridiculous. There's no
possible justification in the New Testament or anyplace else for what we've
made out of the papacy".

He's being evenhanded and criticizing temporal aspects of the papacy and still all Mr Petrushko can do is bitch.

Taft speaks very frankly about why the Uniate Patriarchate should be
created in Kyiv, and not in L'viv, where the Uniate Church has been
traditionally spread as the faith only of the Galicians.

Although it is possible to turn a blind eye to his statement about how "there was a time
when all of Ukraine west of the Dnepr River was in union with Rome, and the
presiding hierarch was in Kyiv", it is nevertheless impossible that Taft,
as an expert in the history of Orthodoxy, does not know that the head of
the Uniate Kyiv metropoly never had his residence in Kyiv and only bore the
title of metropolitan of Kyiv.

I didn't know that last bit underlined (by me). Can any blog readers confirm that?

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