Synod: Ukrainian Cardinal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — All of the Eastern Catholic churches, not just those based in the Middle East, have thousands of their faithful living in predominantly Latin-rite Catholic countries and need to find new ways to minister to them, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

In the modern world, the territory of an individual church “is made up of people of faith” no matter where they live, Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev-Halych said in a written submission to the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

The Vatican released his statement Oct. 21.

Catholic Church law limits the authority of Eastern-rite Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops to the traditional territory of their churches, but Cardinal Husar said the church must “rethink and review” those restrictions to ensure that the Eastern churches can minister effectively to their members.

The cardinal asked Pope Benedict XVI to set up a body, like an Eastern church’s permanent synod, that would bring all the patriarchs and major archbishops together regularly so they could share ideas and problems and receive suggestions and encouragement from the pope.

He also asked the pope to dedicate a future Synod of Bishops “to the general theme of the nature and role of the Eastern Catholic churches.”

The arrival of Eastern Catholic immigrants, whether from Middle East or Eastern Europe, means the Catholic Church must find “the courage in the Holy Spirit to live the harmony in multiplicity or diversity in all those regions that, up to a few decades ago, were characterized by the presence of a single rite and were used to a sort of monopoly,” the cardinal told the synod.

In addition, Cardinal Husar said even the smallest Eastern Catholic communities in the West must recognize their obligation to be missionaries and must not think that only Latin-rite Catholics have the right and obligation to welcome new members.

“The wealth of our spirituality and our liturgies is a patrimony to be shared and not jealously guarded or even hidden in our communities,” he said.

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