viernes, 30 de octubre de 2015

A sign of the catholicity of the Church is that throughout the entire world her teaching is one

Ukrainians React to Papal Calls for “Decentralization”

By Alexander R. Sich

Recently, there was a positive development during an interview with Bishop Borys Gudziak (President of the Ukrainian Catholic University—UCU) by Crux regarding the issue of “decentralization,” which was proposed in a favorable light by the Holy Father during the recent Synod on the Family. Bishop Gudziak echoed the position of the Head of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church (UGCC), His Beatitude Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who expressed his support for decentralization—with an important distinction: decentralization should not apply to “the fundamental human issues… For example, I support a devolution in terms of the selection of bishops.” On the Kasper proposal, however, Gudziak said “it would be very problematic, to put it lightly.”

In a subsequent interview, Bishop Gudziak noted that the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, apparently would not support the removal of language from the draft of Ukraine’s new constitution that defines marriage as being exclusively between a man and woman, and that good, strong arguments must be provided to politicians to support the president’s pledge. Nonetheless, it appears UCU still has not dealt directly with three of its faculty (in the School of Journalism) who publicly promote homosexuality as “normal” and homosexual “marriage” as a “human right”—one of those faculty members being a member of Parliament. On this point, the teaching of the Universal Church, as stated by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, is crystal clear and worth quoting at length:

In the working document the question of homosexuality was raised. However, the [Synod] Fathers immediately noted that it has no relation to the issue of the family because the life of a same-sex couple cannot be termed a marriage. And, no matter the pressure whatever international lobby may exert upon the Church, the Church—in accordance with its conscience and being faithful to the teaching of Scripture—can never change its teaching on this issue. For this reason some of the Fathers noted assertively that the issue of homosexuality must be removed from the final document, inasmuch as this issue has nothing in common with the subject of the Synod, that is, the call and role of the Christian family in the Church and the world. The issue of the distinct teaching of the Church regarding such matters of sexuality absolutely has no place here.

On the other hand, what was discussed was the notion that the individual person, irrespective of which sin by which he or she is burdened, is and remains created in the image and likeness of God. We must always respect the person [as person] no matter their acts. We respect the sinner but assertively warn them against their sins and can never approve of their sins. This distinction was always present during the discussions of the Synod Fathers. For this reason, on the issue of homosexuality the Fathers are absolutely unanimous.

It is a great tragedy and a great moral evil to propagandize homosexuality as some kind of model for relations or even the attempt, at the legislative level, to compare such a lifestyle with the family. Such pressure is an expression of great disdain toward the family and marriage as institutions. (Emphasis added.)

It is de rigueur these days that one must rarely (if at all) speak about the objective nature of the sin (for example, inherently disordered homosexual inclinations acted out as grave sin). Rather, one must fully accept the person with the sin all but affirmed, in the “hope” that one’s non-condemnation of sin will somehow lead the sinner to repentance. I am a direct witness of a UGCC bishop taking precisely this approach regarding a person who for years clung (and continues to cling) to the notion that the Church is “wrong” about homosexual marriage … because homosexuality, this person believes, is “natural.” Predictably, that accommodationist tree bore no fruit.

Moreover, in this light, it is difficult to understand part of the Holy Father’s closing remarks—widely interpreted as a blanket castigation of those who hold to the Church’s teaching on the traditional understanding of the family, and which angered many: “[The Synod] was also about laying bare the closed hearts, which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.” Clearly, there are those with superiority complexes on both sides of official Church doctrine … who, while vociferous, are relatively few in number.

Yet, is it not true that precisely because significant representatives of the clerical hierarchy either kept silent or actively shielded sexual offenders in their ranks, that only now is the Church slowly emerging from the diabolical destructiveness of the pedophilia scandals? Is it not true that fearful clerical silence in the face of the promotion of homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, etc. has led to scandals among the faithful and a weakening of the Church’s moral stature to deal with these issues—including the weakening of the institution of the traditional family? Cardinals Kasper and Marx are examples of those who would compromise Church doctrine while hiding behind “pastoral reforms,” and who “lead” eparchies collapsing from a certain lack of Magisterial oxygen … in the context of the “radical individualism” and “sex-saturated hedonistic culture of the West.” Is this not, at least partly, the case at UCU as it struggles with its serious identity crisis?

Why is it that significant numbers of lay people and pastors have succumbed to the zeitgeist—making them unable (or unwilling?) to consider both the pastoral and doctrinal elements as crucial, that is, speaking the truth to sin, while accepting and loving the sinner precisely as a fallen human being? The unfortunate outcome is completely backwards, or as Robert Royal points out in the context of the current Synod on the Family, such an accommodationist approach grants “communion before repentance and reconciliation.” Why is it so difficult to understand that the Church’s position is not a restrictive “either … or” but an inclusive “both … and” in its doctrinal and pastoral messages? That is, why is it so difficult to hold in one’s mind—and even more difficult to proclaim—that there is no love without truth, forgiveness without acceptance of one’s fault, conversion without repentance, and mercy without reconciliation and justice?

Unfortunately, in this regard, the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Bishop of Edmonton, David Motiuk, is unabashed in his communion-before-state-of-Grace approach, as he supports offering communion to an unrepentant and highly confused transgendered man—with repentance and reconciliation at best presented as a rain check. That is, Motiuk is effectively acting against the Head of his own particular church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and against Catholic teaching—both doctrinal and pastoral.

Returning to the issue of “decentralization,” there is more here than meets the eye. What many don’t realize is how deeply one of Cardinal Kasper’s particularly pernicious ideas has been absorbed by some in the UGCC … and I don’t have in mind Kasper’s mischief in the context of the recently-concluded Synod on the Family. There is a distinct possibility that the Pope will decree that bishop’s conferences take on more responsibilities previously held by the Curia in a more “decentralized church.” This is not new, and to the extent it has to do with administrative issues at the level of particular churches or countries with significant numbers of Catholics, the idea is a healthy one.


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