PopeWatch: Ukraine



Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us some behind the scenes information on the furious Ukrainian Bishops who believe they have been betrayed by the Vatican:

ROME, February 20, 2015 – He had a lot to be sorry about, Pope Francis, with the bishops of Ukraine who recently arrived in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visit.

To these bishops and to their priests and faithful, when two weeks ago Jorge Mario Bergoglio had denounced to the world the war that is devastating their country, the words he had used had sounded terrible. “Fratricidal violence,” the pope had called it, putting everyone on a par, aggressors and victims.

And it had been even worse when Francis had looked up from the text and added on his own: “When I hear the words ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’ I feel a great pain, a great sadness in my heart. Those are not the right word; the only right word is ‘peace.’ Think about it, this is a war among Christians! All of you have the same baptism. You are fighting among Christians. Think about this scandal.”

The fact that Bergoglio has a soft spot for Russia had already been seen with the outbreak of war in Syria, when he called for a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime of Damascus, and Vladimir Putin publicly praised him.

Then there is the influence of the ecumenical factor: of the 200 million Orthodox Christians in the world, 150 million belong to the patriarchate of Moscow and “of all Rus’,” and it is therefore with Moscow above all that the pope wants to cultivate good relations.

But the fact that the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the armed occupation of its eastern border, the annexation of Crimea should have left the pope indifferent to “victory” or “defeat,” was intolerable for the sentiments of Ukrainian Catholics. All the more so in that these words of Pope Francis promptly brought the applause of Moscow, this time not from Putin but from Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who also has jurisdiction over the Orthodox of Ukraine.

Memories of the persecution of Ukrainian Catholics on the part of the Soviet regime are too fresh. Their Church, after the second world war, was literally annihilated, with countless martyrs killed in the most atrocious ways, crucified, walled up alive, drowned in boiling water.

It was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that brought this Church out of the catacombs. But its efforts to regain breathing space have been difficult and are still incomplete, with churches and homes in the hands of Orthodox bishops and priests.

Today the almost five million Ukrainian Catholics know very well that they are the true obstacle to the encounter between the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow. But they will not agree to be sacrificed on the altar of this ecumenical dream.

Ukrainian Catholics are resisting in the western part of the country, in Galicia, in Lviv. But in occupied Crimea and the Donbass, the repression has taken another ruthless turn.

The Vatican nuncio in Kiev, American archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, appointed by Benedict XVI in 2011, has compared it to that of the Soviets in 1946, “with the complicity of the Orthodox brethren and the blessing of Moscow.” He even evoked “the lessons of ISIS and the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” to say that “such a tragedy” could also happen elsewhere.

The reports that the nuncio is sending to Rome are detailed and alarming. And Ukrainian Catholics have been furious to see how none of this has appeared in the words of Pope Francis. It is their conviction that in the Roman curia as well, as in Ukraine, the pro-Russian party has free rein and is influencing the pope.

On February 10 the secretariat of state responded to the protests of Ukrainian Catholics with a note, to “clarify that the pope has always intended to address all the interested parties, trusting in the sincere effort of each one to apply the agreements reached by common accord and recalling the principle of international law.”

But this slight reference to legality was certainly not enough to worry Moscow, certain by now that its annexation of Crimea has in fact been accepted by all, including the Vatican, and that for the Donbass, Russianized and with no more Catholics, the same thing could happen.

Go here to read the rest.  This is not the first time that Catholics in the East have suffered from futile efforts by the Vatican to foster good relations with Russian regimes and their Orthodox pawns.  John Paul II was wise enough not to play this game, but Pope Francis lacks his wisdom, resolve and foresight.

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  1. My head is spinning…Marxist Lib Theology…Warning about Russia from Fatima….American Communist party goal # 27 ( Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion.)…the USCCB Funding ACORN (and Obama’s election?)…. the Stupak/Obamacare game…Ignoring of subsidiarity…squelching of voices….funding for illegals….demands for international (redistribution) control of wealth….Obama and Francis visit results in co-bemoaning, “inequality”….climate hoax” (cap and trade) international politics…
    What is a catholic to think…?

  2. Don Lond: A++!!

    You reminded me why I will not give a dime to this year’s (formerly Bishop’s) Catholic Ministries Appeal. Nor to Peter’s Pence. Don’t feed the beast.

  3. I prefer the Parish snow removal, utilities, and expense direction, also.
    The name-calling, misbehaving beast blows around in the wind of politics and ‘law’ while its religious purpose flounders on ground becoming soaked with blood of its children due to the freedoms taken by criminals (the ‘Disgrace’ post).

  4. Good relations with the Moscow Patriarchate and with Evangelicals are more important than Catholic orthodoxy.

    I am Catholic, not because of the church hierarchy we have now, but because Christ created His Church on earth. He never promised that it would be free of fools.

    The current Roman Pontiff continues to live down to my expectations as someone who is hopelessly naive, stuck in a period of time that caused great damage to the Church and is completely full of himself.

  5. Penguins Fan.

    A humble priest named Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey penned this; “God condescends to use our powers if WE don’t spoil his plan with ours.”

    I’m tempted to send Pope Francis a copy of the writing’s of Fr. Casey.

  6. When I post things like this article on Facebook, I am told by various people that Pope Francis is being mis-interpreted, or that the translation of what he wrote or spoke is in error, or that his words are being taken out of context, or that he is basically right: the Ukrainians and Russians are Christian brothers in a fratricidal civil war. But as I see it, a very strong and power big brother has acted as a bully, hitting and beating his little brother till he is bloody and bruised, and the Pope has studiously ignored that at least in public.

  7. “When I hear the words ‘victory’ or ‘defeat, I feel a great pain, a great sadness in my heart: Those are not the right words, the right word is ‘peace’.”

    Or: ‘enslavement’.

    This man is a fool of the first magnitude. So now he drives the Ukrainian Catholic Church into sedesvacantism. Would they be blamed?

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