DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     October 1, 1998     vol. 9, no. 192

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The tense relations between the Eastern- rite Ukrainian Catholic Church and her Orthodox neighbors is at the top of the agenda as the Congregation for Eastern Churches meets in Rome under the direction of its prefect, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini.

          Thirty Church leaders-- patriarchs, cardinals, bishops, and consultors-- will take place in the deliberations of the Roman dicastery. The meeting will continue through Friday.

          In an interview broadcast today by Vatican Radio, Cardinal Silvestrini acknowledged the importance of addressing the situation that confronts the Ukrainian Catholic Church: "her renaissance, her freedom, her pastoral zeal, and her peaceful and fraternal coexistence with the Orthodox churches." Catholics and Orthodox have engaged in numerous conflicts since the fall of the Communist regime allowed the resurgence of the Byzantine Catholic Church, which had been banned by the Soviet Union. The two communions now must resolve disputes over the ownership of parish properties, confiscated under Stalin from Ukrainian Catholics and handed over to Orthodox congregations.

          The Ukrainian situation is not the only question facing the Congregation, however. Cardinal Silvestrini cited the need to "reinforce the identity" of the Eastern Catholic churches. In particular, he suggested the importance of allowing Eastern Catholics to study in the Roman universities without losing contact with their own liturgical and theological traditions. He also mentioned the need to reinvigorate the monastic traditions which spring from the Eastern churches. Finally, the cardinal said that members of the Latin rite should gain a better knowledge of Eastern Catholicism.

          The Congregation for Eastern Churches was created by Pope Pius IX in 1862, originally to serve as an arm of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. It became independent in 1917, at the direction of Pope Benedict XV. The dicastery's sphere includes the 22 different Eastern churches in communion with Rome.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 1, 1998       volume 9, no. 192


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