The Ukrainian Catholic Church and Moral Theology
Abstract: While the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, created the contemporary Ukrainian
Catholic Church, it also had the unfortunate consequence of the ‘Latinization’ of its
Eastern Christian moral theology. More recently, however, the Catholic Church, through
the Second Vatican Council and the writings of Pope John Paul II, has presented the
opportunity to reverse this trend. This article argues that the foundation of an authentic
Eastern moral theology for the Ukrainian Catholic Church is found in the writings of
Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church from 1901 to
1944. Specifically, it analyses Metropolitan Andrei’s assessment of the nature and
purpose of private property in the life of Ukrainian Catholics. From this analysis, the
article offers some conclusions for the application of Metropolitan Andrei’s thought on
private property to contemporary social problems.
A. The Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Moral Theology in 1596, in exchange for certain guarantees contained in the Union of Brest-Litovsk,1 a small group of Ukrainian Orthodox bishops agreed to recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome within the Universal church. From the perspective of the Ukrainian Orthodox bishops who signed the Union—thus giving life to what is today known as the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (the ‘Ukrainian Catholic Church’)2—its main import,quite aside from being a treaty of standardization with the Latin Church in Rome, was to ensure
…retention in toto of their [the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s Eastern Christian Byzantine] rite, liturgical usage and discipline and that all of these matters be left in their own hands and jurisdiction.3 Nor were there any doctrinal or dogmatic difficulties to be resolved. Union with the Holy See, therefore, consisted chiefly of shifting ecclesiastical jurisdictional dependence from the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople to that of the Holy Father and the Holy See of Rome.’
The Holy See concurred completely on all counts and gladly guaranteed that all liturgical matters would be left to the Ukrainian prelates and their successors. To quote from the official Constitution of Pope Clement VIII of 23 December 1595 regarding the Union: “…we receive, unite, join, annex and incorporate our members in Christ, and to enhance more greatly the meaning of our love for all the sacred rites and ceremonies themselves, which the bishops and clergy use, as established by the holy Greek Fathers in the Divine Offices, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the administration of the rest of the Sacraments and other sacred functions… with Apostolic graciousness we permit, concede and allow (them) to the same Ruthenian [Ukrainian] bishops and clergy….”4
While the Union was intended to ensure the retention of the spiritual and liturgical practices of the Ukrainian bishops and their faithful—practices which were Byzantine Eastern Christian or Orthodox—the reality is that the separations of sacramental theology from moral and dogmatic theology that emerged in the post-Reformation Christian West through Thomism and Scholasticism were and are unknown to the Christian East. It is therefore difficult to draw any precise line between the two as far as Eastern Christianity is concerned; indeed, it is questionable whether such a division can even be profitably attempted. Rather than scholastically segmenting various theological categories, the entire ecclesiological life of the Eastern Christian Churches is inextricably intertwined in the total Christian life of prayer,5 and in every case—liturgical, spiritual, or theological—its roots lie in the earliest tradition of the Church, namely, in the Patristic age.6 Thus,Churches of the Eastern Rite or Orientalium Ecclesiarum.13 Thus, the Second Vatican Council raised Latin Catholic awareness of the status and role of the Eastern Catholic Churches, a group which includes the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in the contemporary life of the universal Catholic Church.
The second event was the pontificate of John Paul II14 who, drawing upon, supplementing and advancing the work of the Council, wrote his 1995 Apostolic Letter The Light of the East (Orientale Lumen),15 followed closely by his 1995 Encyclical Letter On Commitment to Ecumenism (Ut Unum Sint).16 These two documents, in the context of encouraging ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, elaborated John Paul’s succinct statement of 1985, when he said that ‘[t]he Church needs to learn to breathe again with its two lungs—its Eastern one and its Western one.’17 More significantly, John Paul exhorted the Eastern Catholic churches to return to their roots.18 In the light of the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, this can only mean that the Ukrainian Catholic Church must recapture its entire Christian life of prayer, as that is found in the Patristic roots of Eastern Christianity.
Yet, while the Second Vatican Council and the writings of Pope John Paul II provide a unique opportunity to all Eastern Catholic Churches, the lengthy absence of any work free of a heavy Latin Catholic scholastic influence has made it difficult to return fully to Eastern Christian spiritual and liturgical practice, and even more difficult to begin the difficult work of a Patristic-based moral theology specific to the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Difficult though the task be, however, it has begun, and the current hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church is both defending the need for and developing the scope of an authentically Eastern Christian moral theology.19 Indeed, while much remains to be done to make it fully authentic, the Ukrainian Catholic Church recently promulgated the first ever catechism of moral theology based upon Eastern Christian Patristic tradition.20
This article assumes that there is no distinction between spiritual, liturgical and theological life in the Eastern Christian tradition, an assumption that needs little proof, so evident is its truth in every aspect of the ecclesiological life of the Eastern Christian Churches. As such, this article does not attempt to establish the link between the spirituality and liturgy and theology in the life of Eastern Christianity, which is assured to the Ukrainian Catholic Church by the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596. Nor does it attempt, on the basis of such an assumption, to set out a fully developed and authentically Eastern Christian moral theology for the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Rather, while advocating the need for such a moral theology, it considers an aspect of the work of the only Ukrainian Catholic hierarch since the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, to attempt to develop an Eastern Christian moral theology for his Church: Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi.21 The article considers only his work as it relates to the nature and purpose of private property in the life of Ukrainian Catholics.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
The Pastoral Writings of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi on Private Property
MORE INFORMATION REGARDING THE EAST ROMAN -GREEK CATHOLIC EKKLEESIA CAN BE READ AT THE BOOK
Crisis and Reform: The Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Genesis of the Union of Brest by Borys A. Gudziak
1 The full title of the Union of Brest-Litovsk 1596 is ‘Articles for Which We Need Guarantees from the Lord Romans before We Enter into Unity with the Roman Church’ (‘Articles of Union’). The text of the Articles of Union is found in Borys Gudziak, Crisis and Reform: The Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Genesis of the Union of Brest (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Pres, 1998), Appendix 3. For a brief account of the Union of Brest-Litovsk see Paul Babie, ‘The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Australia and the Filioque: A Return to Eastern Christian Tradition’ Compass 39 (2005): 17-23; Orest Subtelny, Ukraine : A History (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1988), 99-102. For a full analysis see Gudziak, Crisis and Reform, passim.
2 Also historically known as the ‘Ruthenian Catholic Church’, but for the purposes of this article, referred to as the ‘Ukrainian Catholic Church’
3 See Articles of Union, Articles 1-8, 16, 19, and 21-33, as cited in Gudziak, Crisis and Reform, Appendix 3.
4 Casimir Kucharek, ‘The Roots of “Latinization” and Its Context in the Experience of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada’ in David J. Goa, The Ukrainian Religious Experience: Tradition and the Canadian Cultural Context (Edmonton, Alberta: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, 1989) 69-79, 70 and 79, citing Pontificum Romanorum, Historiam Ucrainae, Vol I (Rome, 1953), 242-243.
5 Andrii Krawchuk, Christian Social Ethics in Ukraine: The legacy of Andrei Sheptytsky (Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Canada: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, and the Basilian Press, 1997), xiii.
6 The earliest fathers of the Christian Church, who wrote on theology, spirituality and liturgy, are referred to as the ‘Patristic Fathers,’ and their teaching as ‘Patristic teaching’ or ‘Patristic tradition’. See John Breck, The Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000); John Breck, Scripture in Tradition: the Bible and its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001); Stanley S. Harakas, Toward Transfigured Life: The Theoria of Eastern Orthodox Ethics (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Light and Life Publishing Company, 1983); Stanley Samuel Harakas, Living the Faith: The Praxis of Eastern Orthodox Ethics (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Light and Life Publishing Company, 1992); Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998); Vladimir Lossky, Asheleigh Moorhouse, trans., The Vision of God (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1983); Vladimir Lossky, Ian and Ihita Kesarcodi-Watson, trans., Orthodox Theology: An Introduction (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001); John Meyendorff, Rome, Constantinople, Moscow: Historical and Theological Studies (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996); John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: historical trends & doctrinal themes (New York, New York: Fordham University Press, 1974, 1979); John Meyendorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1987); Alexander Schmemann, Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1979); Christos Yannaras, Elizabeth Briere, trans.,The Freedom of Morality (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996); John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the following 1596, being an Orthodox Church in communion with Rome,7 the Ukrainian Catholic Church ought to have continued to live an ecclesiological life of prayer traceable to these Patristic roots. Yet the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, through a scholastic division of theological categories unknown to and artificial in the Eastern Christian tradition, had the consequence—unintended from the perspective of the Ukrainian Orthodox bishops who signed it—of stunting an organic growth from Patristic roots of a moral and systematic theology specific to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Unlike the Orthodox Churches, notably the Russian and Greek Churches, whose contemporary life has been marked by just such an organic growth of a Patristic-based moral and systematic theology8 founded in its total life of prayer, the Union of Brest-Litovsk, 1596, began an unjustifiable importation of Western dogmatic and moral theology, in addition to similar encroachments in relation to the sacraments (known as the Holy Mysteries in the Christian East) into the life of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.9 To such an extent did these encroachments—known as ‘Latinization’10—occur that by the time of the mid- to late-twentieth century much theological writing in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, even by those of the highest hierarchical rank, was a ‘…mere rehash of Latin theology manuals.’11 This process of Latinization continued virtually unchecked until the twentieth century.
Two events of the twentieth century have stemmed the advance of Latinization in of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The first of these events was the Second Vatican Council. During the plenary sessions of the Second Vatican Council, Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh of the Eastern Catholic Melkite Church refused to speak Latin and continually promoted the rights and status of the Eastern Catholic Churches,12 and it was his role in the Council that had a major influence on the content of the document ultimately produced by the Council Fathers on the Eastern Catholic Churches: the Decree on the Catholic Church (Crestwood, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997); John D. Zizioulas, Elizabeth Theokritoff, trans., Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries (Brookline, Massachusetts: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001).
7 Brian R. Keleher, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and Three Converts from the West’ in Paul Robert Magocsi, ed., Morality and Reality: The Life and Times of Andrei Sheptyts’kyi (Edmonton, Canada: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, 1989) 227-243, 227, 239-240, n 1, writes that the Ukrainian Catholic Church is an ‘Orthodox Church’ not in the sense of ‘right teaching’, but rather in its full ecclesiological sense as describing all churches that trace their origins to the Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D. Union or communion with Rome does nothing to alter that status; thus, it is a proper name for the Church that includes the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
8 In relation to systematic theology, see Lossky, Mystical Theology; Lossky, The Vision of God; Lossky, Orthodox Theology; Meyendorff, Rome, Constantinople, Moscow; Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology; Meyendorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought; Schmemann, Church, World, Mission; Zizioulas, Being as Communion; Zizioulas, Eucharist, Bishop, Church.
In relation to moral theology, see Breck, The Sacred Gift of Life; Breck, Scripture in Tradition; Harakas, Toward Transfigured Life; Harakas, Living the Faith; Yannaras, The Freedom of Morality.
9 Kucharek, ‘The Roots of “Latinization”’, 73-74. See also Peter Galadza, ‘Liturgical Latinization and Kievan Ecumenism: Losing the Koinê of Koinonia’, Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies35 (1995): 173-194.
10 Galadza, ‘Liturgical Latinization and Kievan Ecumenism’, 176, defines a latinisation of Eastern practice as: ‘…the importing or imposition onto [Eastern Catholic] worship of the spirit, practices and priorities of latin liturgy and theology. For such an imposition or importation to constitute inappropriate latinization, it must be inorganic to the [Eastern Catholic] system. By inorganic I mean that the structural, theological or spiritual genius of the Byzantine tradition is violated by these borrowings.’
11 Kucharek, ‘The Roots of “Latinization”,’ 74.
12 Peter Hebblethwaite, John XXIII: Pope of the Century (London, England and New York, New York: Continuum, 1984, 1994, and revised by Margaret Hebblethwaite, 2000), 220.
13 Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite (Orientalium Ecclesiarum) solemnly promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_orientalium-ecclesiarum_en.html, accessed 9 December 2004.
14 The work of Pope John Paul II is continuing in the early period of the pontificate of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. See Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI on the solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, 29 June 2005, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20050629_sts-peter-paul_en.html; Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI on his Pastoral Visit to Bari for the Closing of the 24th Italian National Eucharistic Congress, Esplanade of Marisabella, 29 May 2005, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20050529_bari_en.html.
15 Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, 2 May 1995, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_02051995_orientale-lumen_en.html, accessed 9 December 2004.
16 Encyclical Letter On Commitment to Ecumenism (Ut Unum Sint) of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, May 25 1995, http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0221/_INDEX.HTM, accessed 9 December 2004.
17 ‘Discourse to the Roman Curia’ of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, 29 June 1985, L’Osservatore Romano.
18 And Pope John Paul has also recently asked Eastern Catholics to lead the way in ecumenical dialogue with Orthodox Churches: Discorso Di Giovanni Paolo II Ai Participanti Al Sinodo Interparchiale Delle Eparchie Italo-Albanesi In Italia, Martendi, 11 gennaio 2005; see also ‘Pope Invites Eastern Catholics to Reach Out to Orthodox: Attendees at Interpatriarchal Synod Hear Plea’ http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=64532. This, too, requires an authentic Eastern Christian moral theology that resonates with the work being done by contemporary Orthodox theologians if the entreaties of Eastern Catholics are to have any purchase.
19 See Bishop Peter (Stasiuk), ‘The Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church’, Address delivered at the Annual Ukrainian Catholic Bishop’s Dinner, Perth, Australia, 9 July 2005. Bishop Peter is the Chairman of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Synodal Catechetical Commission. See also Bishop Peter (Stasiuk) and Bishop Richard (Seminack), Protocol #04/053, 13 September 2004, Lviv, Ukraine; Bishop Peter (Stasiuk), Protocol #04/055, 12 October 2004, Lviv, Ukraine.
20 This work is ongoing; in 2004 the hierarchy of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church issued the first draft of моральної катехизи: “Життя у Христі” (Moral Catechism: “The Life in Christ”), its first attempt to develop an Eastern Christian moral theology for the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This has since been released as Christ is Our Passover: Catechism of the Christian Faith (thematic content) (Lviv, Ukraine : Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Synodal Catechetical Commission, Patriarchal Catechetical Commission, September 2004).
21 This is the approach advocated by the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Synodal Catechetical Commission and the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission, which states that the main sources which should be used in developing the moral theology of the Church are: (i) Sacred Scripture; (ii) Writings of the Church Fathers (Patristic tradition); (iii) Writings of the Fathers of the Ukrainian Catholic Church; (iv) Liturgical Texts; (v) Lives of the Saints; (vi) church Documents; and (vii) Icons. There is insufficient room in this article to develop a full moral theology on private property according to this approach. The article therefore restricts itself to the work of Metropolitan Andrei, a Father of Ukrainian Catholic Church. While there is some available research on the role of Sacred Scripture (see Paul Babie, ‘Private Property and the Gospel of Luke’ Australian EJournal of Theology 3 (2004): http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_3/Babie.htm; Rachael Oliphant and Paul Babie, ‘Can the Gospel of Luke Speak to a Contemporary Understanding of Private Property? The Parable of the Rich Fool’ 2 (2005) or 1 (2006): forthcoming) the remaining six aspects of a full moral theology, especially the Patristic tradition of the Church Fathers, must await further research.
SOURCE Australian eJournal of Theology , http://www.jstor.org