Are Ukrainian Catholics part of the Latin Church?



Yes, and no.

To quote Lubomyr Cardinal Husar:
"We were told: If you want to be a real Catholic, you have to be Latin. And they pushed us into it."

Eastern Catholics were considered as ‘rites’ of the Roman Catholic church for centuries, with the ‘Roman Rite to be preferred’. Over the course of centuries the Ukrainian Catholic church underwent a long series of minor transformations in theology and practice. This very same process happened by degrees to Eastern Christianity in Bohemia, Slovakia, southern Poland, the Hungarian plain and the Dalmation coast until it directly disappeared. The process in Ukraine began much later but the pattern was the same.

Now the Roman Catholic communion, essentially since the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II the bishop of Rome, wishes to regard them in some way as separate from the Latin. The term used is Sui Iuris.

It is an interesting idea, but somehow not a fully formed one. The Ukrainian Catholic church is not autocephalous, and does not seem to wish to be. Therefore it is still dependant upon the Curia in Rome. It continues to preserve and even promote many latin practices to the detriment of it’s earlier native practices as a part of an eastern Orthodox church.

The concept of more than one rite or usage in a church is a vaild one, so I think a strong case can be made for the idea that an organization like the UGCC can be considered another rite of the Roman church, in the same fashion as the Mozarabic and the Milanese-Ambrosian. This is how it was traditionally regarded for probably four hundred years.

So there can be a contrast between the “official” answer and the “apparent” answer to this question. Orthodox tend to look at the Ukrainian Catholic church and not recognize much of Orthodoxy left in it, but (especially interiorly) abundant Latinism, so of course that is how Orthodox will think of it.

Latins may observe the Ukrainian Catholic superficialities and see something more exotic, and think of it as somehow Orthodox. In other words the UGCC can seem to be ‘neither fish nor fowl’, depending a lot on what one had come to expect beforehand.

I guess it is all a matter of perspective.



No, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) is one of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris (independent and self-governing) in the Catholic communion of Churches. It is not a part of the Latin Church but, rather, a part of the Catholic Church universal.

As a particular Church, the UGCC looks to Major Archbishop Husar as her head.

The Latin Church, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, represents the West in that Catholic communion. As a particular Church, the Bishop of Rome, aka the Pope, is her head.

The Latin Church, together with the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches, is the Catholic Church, wherein, as recently re-emphasized by the CDF, the Church established by Our Lord Jesus Christ subsists.

The head of the Catholic Church as a whole is the Pope, in his capacity as Supreme Pontiff or Pontifex Maximus.


.The above is correct, and indeed is all that needs to be said on the issue.


The EO posters are applying their ecclesiology to ours, which is where they err.

The Church of Rome is the mother of all the other Churches. The Ukrainian Church is not the Church of Rome, but she is in communion with the Church of Rome and acknolwedges the supreme jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. That doesn’t make her part of the particular Roman or Latin Church, however, but rather part of the universal/Catholic Church and in communion with the Latin Church.


In what sense to you mean that “the Church of Rome is the mother of all the other churches”?

Is this something other Roman Catholics, such as our brother Amado above, can agree with?


“the Church of Rome is the mother of all the other churches”


Interesting from historical point of view. I have belief that Church of Resurrection in Ierusalem is and always called Mother of All Christian Churches.

It seems more appropriate that Ierusalem church should be such, for a Church founded in Ierusalem by Iesus Christ. Why would Rome Church be mother of churches founded by Iesus Christ?? Were many churches in Greece, Asia before Rome - so how can be Mother??



Michael, THANK YOU for putting me on the hot seat!:wink:

In the sense that the Church of Rome spawned, or gave birth to, all other Churches, apostolic or not, NO!

It is in the fact that the Church of Rome was/is:

(1) accorded the first place of honor in the pentarchy;

(2) the court of last resort and final arbiter; and

(3) providing leadership by giving care and assistance to other particular Churches.

In this sense, YES! The Church of Rome is a “mother,” a “father,” an “elder brother,” an “elder sister,” a “pater familias,” to all Churches.


Jerusalem is often considered the mother of all the Churches in the sense that she was where the rest came out of.

Rome is considered the mistress and mother of the other Churches in a different way, not because she gave birth to them, but because she cares for them and nurses them with the word of God, having the final authoritative say when it comes to what is true and what is error and presiding in love. It is more to do with the relationship between the Roman Church and the other Churches in the Catholic Church.


I knew you were alluding to the Church of Rome in this sense!

I totally agree!:thumbsup:


Ok I will again ask the question:

Well I had assumed that if you werent under the Latin Church you would be commemorating Cardinal Husar not the Pope in your Litanies. And if you didnt belong to the Latin church your last three bishops wouldnt have had to have Rome’s approval to retire and the last bishop to be consecrated in the U.S. was conducted by representatives of the Vatican.

Why at all was the Vatican (Latin church) involved at all at any level if you are self governing?


It is in this same sense that Pope Agatho wrote to Emperor Constantine that the Church of Rome was the “spiritual mother of your most tranquil empire”.


Having never been to a UGCC Divine Liturgy, I would imagine they commemorate both. In the Ruthenian Liturgies they do this, as well in all Latin liturgies (e.g in San Antonio in the NO, the priests says “…with Benedict our Pope, Jose our bishop and all the angels and saints…”).

If I’m not mistaken at one point in the early Church, all five Patriarchs were commemorated in all Liturgies.


Of course a parallel on the autocephaly of the Ukrainians can be shown in that the largest group are under Moscow. So even the Orthodox are not autocephalous (laying aside for sake of parallel those indepedent Ukranian groups).


So we have successors of the Apostles headed by the successor of Romulus?


No. Rome is Jerusalem’s granddaughter, Antioch’s daughter and Constantinople’s elder sister.

In the East she’s only Alexandria’s mother.

Applying the situation of only one Apostolic see in the West on the East leads to disasterous results.


I think the error is to apply an ecclesiology that reduces the elder sees in the East to “daughters.”


Sort of like the Soviet Republics. Free and sovereign enough that Moscow chooses their leaders.


The Ukrainians DO commemorate their head, Cardinal Major Archbishop Husar, but they also commemorate the Pope of Rome in his capacity as the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. It simply shows that they are in full communion with the Church of Rome. And as another poster pointed out, the Pope of Rome was often described as the “father” of all bishops (at Chalcedon for example) in the undivided Church, while Rome was, by the same token, described as a spiritual mother even of the Byzantine Empire!


Ok, I’ve been told that the UCC is self governing but any appointments or retirements must go through Rome for approval.

Can this be disputed. IOW, can Cardinal Husar elevate priests to bishop or archbishop without notifying Rome? Has it ever been done? And please dont give me this thing about “Well we do like to keep the Vatican informed by what we do” because this shouldnt be any business of Rome what the UCC does in regards to its hierarchy IF they are truly self governing.

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