(being continued from  9/01/14)

B. Prince of the Church and Ukrainian Moses: Metropolitan of Galicia

When Sheptyts’kyi acceded to the Metropolitan throne, contemporary Ukraine did not exist; his canonical territory, Galicia, was still a region of the Habsburg controlled Austro-Hungarian Empire. His faithful looked to their new Metropolitan for leadership and guidance. Sheptyts’kyi did not shy from these expectations; for the purposes of this article, two areas of his work demonstrate his bold leadership.

1. Leadership during Political Crisis and War

The most significant and profound demonstration of Sheptyts’kyi’s leadership came in the face of the national and international upheavals in the two World Wars and in the communist overthrow of the Tsarist Empire in Russia. In 1914, a scant fourteen years after his enthronement as Metropolitan, the outbreak of World War I pitted Austro-Hungary against Allied forces, including Russia.55 As war engulfed Galicia, the Tsarist forces of Russia entered Galicia behind the retreating Austrian army, with designs to incorporate it as part of the Russian Empire.56 Tsarist officials and Russian Orthodox clergy followed closely,57 bringing with them the first crisis of Sheptyts’kyi’s Metropolitanate. Eulogius, the Orthodox bishop of Khom, wrote a pastoral letter to the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church appealing to them to convert to Russian Orthodoxy. Sheptyts’kyi responded with courageous opposition to such moves: on 6 September 1914, the first weekend the Tsarist forces occupied L’viv, he preached to the people to remain faithful to their Church, stating that he was prepared to make any sacrifice to that end. On 18 September, he did just that when he was imprisoned in Kyiv; he was later moved to various locations in Russia, although protests from abroad as well  as from liberal Russians finally brought his transfer from prison at Suzdal to a house in Yaroslav.58 Sheptyts’kyi did not gain full freedom, however, until the communists overthrew the Tsarist regime in March 1917.59
The revolution of 1917 ultimately led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, the presence of which would, in one way or another, affect the final twenty-six years of Sheptyts’kyi’s life and tenure as Metropolitan of Galicia.60 The instability created by the Soviet presence brought rapid power changes between 1917 and 1919.61 For Sheptyts’kyi, the most significant of these was a bloodless coup-d’etat in 1919, which briefly created the Western Ukrainian National Republic—a brief moment of optimism in an otherwise abysmal situation. Ultimately, Polish forces occupied Galicia, took the Metropolitan’s official residence in L’viv, and placed Sheptyts’kyi under house arrest.62
The third and final cataclysmic event of Sheptyts’kyi’s tenure came in 1939 and the outbreak of World War II, which brought with it a military clash on Galician soil between the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. While the Soviet repression that so terribly affected those in eastern Ukraine had left western Galicia largely untouched, Polish rule during that time was by no means easy for Ruthenians.63 And while the German blitzkrieg that crushed Poland in two weeks brought a short-lived respite, the terror of war soon the whole of Ukraine.64 There is little doubt that this conflict waged between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on Ukrainian soil represents the single most significant factor influencing some of Sheptyts’kyi’s thinking about private property.
After temporarily halting their advance through western Galicia in 1939, the Germans agreed with the Soviets to divide Galicia, with everything west of the San River to be controlled by the Nazis and everything east by the Soviets. Thus, eastern Galicia began its first Soviet occupation lasting 22 months from 1939 to 1941. Rather than aggressive attempts at pacification, the Soviets chose instead to use propaganda to ‘liberate’ the people.65 As part of this program, laws were enacted nationalizing all public and private property, a change which affected all church and monastic holdings, exempting only church buildings themselves. The populace suffered greatly at the hands of the Soviets, with some 250,000 of them either deported deep into Russia or murdered. While having no direct impact on Sheptyts’kyi, he attempted to refute the Soviet propaganda through the use of frequent pastoral letters and synodal meetings.66
Thus, when the Germans advanced into eastern Galicia on 30 June 1941, they were once again seen as potential liberators, although this hope was as short-lived as it had been in the west: the whole of Galicia became a district and Ukraine a Reich-Commisariat. It was clear that the territory was conquered for German use and not for the establishment of a Ukrainian State. Three years of German domination differed little from  Soviet: property remained nationalized, heavy crop quotas were imposed, young people were rounded up and sent to forced labour in Germany, and leaders of the national independence movement were arrested and executed.67 It was only Sheptyts’kyi’s position of authority and his age that prevented him from being imprisoned and executed.
While the Soviets replaced the Germans, the end of the war simply brought with it a continued occupation.68 Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi died on 1 November 1944,69 and thereafter, the Soviets quickly liquidated the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine, imprisoned its leadership, including Sheptyts’kyi’s successor, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj, executed bishops, clergy, monastics and faithful and seized its property for distribution to the State-controlled Russian Orthodox Church.70

2. Guidance in Spirituality and Morality

Yet, despite the upheavals through which he led the Ukrainian Catholic Church, perhaps Sheptyts’kyi’s greatest achievement and that which has had the most lasting import in the contemporary life of his Church is the way in which he responded to the spiritual and moral needs of the faithful. Early in his episcopacy, he began a canonical visitation of his Eparchy, taking every opportunity to be among his faithful and assess their spiritual needs. In response to these needs, he wrote extensively in pastoral letters and religious pamphlets, addressing the religious and moral obligations and national and civic responsibilities of clergy and faithful alike.71 These pastoral letters form the corpus of his social thought and moral theology, and two of them—On the Social Question72 and On Christian Mercy73—form the core of his teaching on the concept and institution of private property. The final section of this article turns its attention to these writings.


A. The Theory and Vernacular of Private Property

To understand Sheptyts’kyi’s thought on private property, one must first be familiar with what is meant by the phrase ‘private property.’ For this one needs briefly to consider the legal-philosophical theory and vernacular of private property. There are two central  elements to all theorising about private property: justification, or why private property exists and why it ought to exist at all, and normative content, or what a system of private  property in any given society looks like and how it operates. As both are relevant to the way in which Sheptyts’kyi viewed private property, this section briefly considers these elements.
Throughout the course of human history there has arisen a need to allocate scarce resources among individuals. The most common method of meeting that need has been some form of private property. And throughout the history of that institution—and arrayed against socialist and communist critiques which advocate the abolition of private property in favour of sharing among all through forms of collective or communitarian property74— political-philosophers have offered justifications for its existence, of which three major historical groupings can be identified.75 The earliest is based upon natural law—the leading proponent of which is John Locke76—and posits that private property is an inherent and inalienable individual moral right of all humans.77 Natural law theories gave way to arguments justifying private property on the basis of freedom, and here G.W.F. Hegel78 led the way. This justification argues that property institutions, by their very nature, confer freedoms (ranges of autonomous choice) which would not exist without them, thus, the community treats no citizen justly unless it institutes or maintains a  property institution.79 Finally, in recent times, natural law and freedom-based justifications have been supplanted by instrumental theories; the leaders here are Robert Nozick80 and F.A. Hayek.81 Instrumental theories reason that there is a range of social goals, both material and immaterial, that only a private property institution can achieve.82 J.W. Harris, having reviewed the various justificatory theories, concludes:
If we suppose that, in a particular society, problems of distribution and property-institutional design [the normative content of private property which a given society uses] have been addressed, more or less, in terms of the relevant property-specific justice reasons [those grounds on which, it is alleged, that a particular legal and social institution which is differentiated as a property institution should be valued],83 and that the solutions reached (albeit imperfect) are arrived at in good faith, [then that]…society’s property institution is, to a degree, just.84
While this justifies why private property does or ought to exist, it is equally important to say what it is, to define its normative content. This is not restricted to what any particular legal system, such as Australia’s or the United States’ or any other country, might view as private property, but rather, extends to ask what all possible systems of private property  share in common—the essentials to the existence of private property in any given legal system which recognizes it. And as far as lawyers, political-philosophers and economists are concerned, the normative content of private property is not concerned with the things—books, cars, houses, or copyright in a new song, or any tangible or intangible thing—that we hold and call our own, rather, it is concerned with the rights that people hold in relation to those things which are enforceable against others.85 Thus, if I say ‘this pen (or whatever) is mine’, the lawyer, or the political-philosopher or the economist would say that what I mean by such a statement is that I have certain rights in relation to that pen which if violated are enforceable against others. Thus, I can use the pen as I choose to the exclusion of all others, I can sell it or lend it to others, and if someone tries to take it from me without my permission, I can get it back from that person. And all legal systems provide mechanisms, laws, which protect this ‘bundle of rights’ and so allow me to do all of those things.
If I hold the largest bundle of such rights in relation to a thing, say the pen, then I am said to ‘own’ the pen; if I hold some smaller sub-set of all possible rights in relation to the thing, then I am said to have private property in the thing. Both ownership and any smaller set of such rights are both called ‘private property’.
Moreover, in the absence of any laws limiting me from doing so, I can suit my own preferences in how I choose to exercise the rights that I have in relation to the thing: to use it in any way I please, to sell or lend it to others, or to protect it against theft or the attempts of others to exercise my rights in relation to it. This is known as ‘preference-satisfaction’ or ‘self-seekingness’ in the exercise of private property rights. Taken together, what has just been described is the ‘rights-based’ view of private property.
Yet there are a small number of theorists who argue that private property is not only about rights. These theorists argue that because the majority of people—those who are not lawyers, political-philosophers or economists—do use the term private property to refer to things, then any theory of private property must take account of that majority view as well.86 Thus, the pen that I call ‘mine’ is actually the private property, rather than the rights alone that allow me to do things with it or to prevent others from doing things with it. The theorists who subscribe to this view argue that one must look at the actual concrete social system in which both tangible resources, such as pens, or coal, or petroleum, or water, and intangible things, such as intellectual property, are parceled up and divided among people, to determine how that system of private property operates. Furthermore, they argue, within any given system of resource distribution, one will invariably find that it includes aspects of both the rights-based view and of the thing-based view of private property.
A very few theorists, who may fall into either the rights-based or the thing-based camp go even further and argue that there is also a ‘social aspect’ to private property. This controls the harmful self-seeking or preference-satisfying exercise of the private property rights held in relation to a thing. The social aspect, according to these theorists, is internal to the concept of private property and not imposed by the external legal system within which the private property is held. But this is a controversial view; most would argue that once one holds private property, on either the rights-based or the things-based view, one  is free to exercise the rights in any way one pleases subject only to any laws which a legal system may impose from the outside upon such exercise or uses. These laws are external to the normative content of private property.87
One final point ought to be noted: it is not only theorists, but also many institutions, too, that attempt both to justify and to define the normative content of private property. Most of these see private property as being more about things than about rights; indeed, the Catholic Church’s teaching about private property, which is admittedly concerned more with justification than with normative content, can be characterised as a thing-based view of private property that contains a very strong understanding of the social aspect, although this view does not always exclude the importance of rights.88 And it is this thing-based view of private property controlled by a social aspect which characterizes Sheptyts’kyi’s thought on private property. This section considers this thought, as compiled from the wealth of material which Sheptyts’kyi produced in his pastoral letters.


The Pastoral Writings of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi on Private Property


52 The phrase ‘Ukrainian Diaspora’ refers to those Ukrainians living outside the national boundaries of Ukraine : see Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 559-572.
53 On the Polish and Soviet roles in Ukraine see Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 69-198 and 339-537.
54 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 35-38.
55 Subtelny, Ukraine : A History, 339-344. On Sheptyts’kyi’s relationship with the Austro-Hungarian imperial authorities prior to the outbreak of World War I, see Wolfdieter Bihl, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Austrian Government’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality 15-28; and on his involvement in the Ukrainian National movement prior to World War I, see John-Paul Himka, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Ukrainian National Movement before 1914’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality 29-46; Bohdan Budurowycz, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Ukrainian National Movement after 1914’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality 47-74.
56 On Sheptyts’kyi’s relationship with the Russian empire, see Ivan Muzyczka, ‘Sheptyts’kyi in the Russian Empire’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality 313-327.
57 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 339-344.

58 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 57-60.
59 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 344-354.
60 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 60-64.
61 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 344-379.
62 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 64-67.
63 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 380-452.
64 Ibid, 453-465.
65 Bociurkiw, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Under the Soviet Occupation of 1939-1941’, 102-103; Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 453-457.
66 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 67-71. And see Bociurkiw, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Under the Soviet Occupation of 1939-1941,’ 103-117.

67 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 457-476.
68 On the German occupation of Galicia, see Hansjakob Stehle, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the German Regime’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality 125-144. On the Jewish holocaust, see Andrew Kania, ‘The Light that Shone in Darkness: Andrii Sheptyts’kyi and the Jewish Holocaust’ Australasian Catholic Record 82 (2005): 299-304.
69 Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 476-480.
70 Laba, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, 71-73.
71 Ibid, 50-57. A full list of Metropolitan Andrei’s pastoral writings is found in 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), 278-363.
72 Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi, O kvestii sotsiial’nii (On the Social Question) (Zhovka, 1904) as translated in Krawchuk, Christian Social Ethics in Ukraine and in Andrii Krawchuk, ‘Sheptyts’kyi and the Ethics of Christian Social Action’ in Magocsi, Morality and Reality, 247-268.
73 Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi, ‘Pro myloserdia’ (‘Tsile dilo…’), June 1942, L’vivs’ki Arkhieparkhiial’ni Vidomosti (L’viv, 1888-1944) 55, nos. 7-8 (July-August 1942), reprinted in Pys’ma-Poslannia Mytropolyta Andreia Sheptyts’koho, ChSVV. Z chasiv nimets’koi okupatsii. Biblioteka Lohosu, vol. 30 (Yorkton, Saskatchewan: Redeemer’s Voice Press, 1969) as cited and translated in Krawchuk, Christian Social Ethics in Ukraine, 224-227.

74 On socialist and communist critiques of private property, see Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom (London, England: The Harvill Press, 1999), 44-63.
75 See J.W. Harris, Property and Justice (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1996), Part II, Is Property Just?; Pipes, Property and Freedom, 3-120. A good introduction to the major property theorists from Locke to Reich can be found in C.B. Macpherson, Property: Mainstream and Critical Positions (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1978).
76 John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, ed. G.W. Gough (Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1976), ch. II.
77 Harris, Property and Justice, 182-184.
78 G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right trans. H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 73-103.
79 Harris, Property and Justice, 230-237.
80 Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1974).
81 F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty: Vol. 1 Rules and Order (London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973) and F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty: Vol. 2 the Mirage of Social Justice (London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976).
82 Harris, Property and Justice, 278-279.
83 Ibid, 166.
84 Ibid, 366.

85 Babie, ‘Private Property, the Environment and Christianity’; Babie, ‘Private Property and the Gospel of Luke’; Oliphant and Babie, ‘Can the Gospel of Luke Speak to a Contemporary Understanding of Private Property?’; Bruce H. Ziff, Principles of Property Law (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada: Carswell, 2000), 1-84; Harris, Property and Justice, Part I, What is Property?.
86 Harris, Property and Justice, 140-142.

87 Babie, ‘Private Property, the Environment and Christianity’; Babie, ‘Private Property and the Gospel of Luke’; Oliphant and Babie, ‘Can the Gospel of Luke Speak to a Contemporary Understanding of Private Property?’; David Lametti, ‘The Concept of Property: Relations through Objects of Social Wealth’ University of Toronto Law Journal 53 (2003): 325-378; David Lametti, ‘Property and (Perhaps) Justice. A Review Article of James W. Harris, Property and Justice, and James E. Penner, The Idea of Property in Law, 43 (1998): 663-727.
88 Catechism of the Catholic Church (Homebush, NSW: St Pauls, 1994), Part Three, Article 7.

SOURCE  Australian eJournal of Theology ,


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