Catholic view of "uniates"?


#1

In reading about the relationship between the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, I came across the concept of "unia" where groups of Orthodox keep their traditions but join in union with Rome - as I understand this refers to Byzantine Catholics?

However, I sometimes hear about how this is the method that "was used in the past", but now it's basically frowned upon and not supported anymore by the Church. I was wondering is this true? and how does it affect us Eastern Catholics?


#2

I feel kind of the same way about it as I feel when people mistakenly use the term “rite” to refer sui iuris churches. Inaccurate, mildly offensive, but probably an honest mistake by people using the terms.


#3

The term "Uniate" can be offensive to Eastern Catholics.


#4

On the contrary, It is *latinization *that is (at least officially) frowned upon nowadays (forcing Western spirituality and customs on Eastern Churches), while the preservation of the Eastern patrimony is upheld (see, e.g., Leo XIII, Orientalium Dignitas, and John Paul II, Orientale Lumen). I’m not saying latinization never happens anymore, but it is not as bad as in the past.

Or are you referring the use of the term “uniate”? Yes that is generally frowned upon.

Or do you mean that converting the Orthodox is frowned upon? Some have gathered that from Pope Francis’s comments in Georgia about proselytizing the Orthodox. It is hard to be sure what he meant. In any case, there is no change in the Church’s teaching that everyone is called to enter the Church that Christ founded.


#5

I'm sorry I didn't mean to offend anyone! I am Eastern Catholic myself :)

I guess my question can be phrased this way:

Is it the term "uniate" that can be offensive or the concept? If its only the term, what is the reason? (I'm not too familiar with the history of that)

I am part of the Russian Byzantine sui iuris church. As I understand it was formed because of the efforts of some Catholics in Russia like Exarch Leonid Fyodorov (now Blessed), the Pope of course, and Archbishop Sheptytsky. It was formed also to help show the Orthodox that its possible to keep all ones heritage and tradition spiritually and yet also be Catholic in union with Rome. Also of course it was to avoid Latinization of the converts. My question is.. Today, of course Latinization would not be favoured. But as I read about the disagreement people today have with the "unia" I can't tell if the disageeement is with the term or the concept? I even remember reading that today the Church doesn't really look at this as a way to heal the Schism, but at least the Russian church was formed for this end - to help dialogue with the Orthodox. That was one of the ideas of Blessed Exarch Leonid Fyodorov, for this church to be like an example, that one can be Russian and Catholic in spirituality.

A lot of these people (as all Catholics) were really persecuted by the Communists. I think the last Exarch was Leonid Fyodorov and he died in prison. Today they don't have their own Bishop and are under the care of the Latin Bishop. Most Catholics in Russia are Latin rite or practising as Latin rite, because there are very few Eastern parishes. Exarch Fyodorov did say though that this church would be like a victim of the Schism, it would be a type of a suffering church. But I'm wondering does the Church today favour this idea as much as in the past, is it just the term "uniate" or the idea that is discouraged? Thanks


#6

Besides the theological differences that must be resolved between the Eastern and Western Churches, methinks that the way in which the Eastern Catholic Churches are treated by Rome is also an impediment to union. What we see are patriarchs, heads of particular Catholic Churches who rank the same as the Pope of Rome, except for his primacy, and metropolitans subject to a mere cardinal. Effectively, they are treated as lesser hierarchs of lesser Churches. In the past this structure imposed great harm on other Catholic Churches, like forced latinization and watering down of their customs, and it continues to do so by undermining their status as Churches of the same stature as the Roman Church.


#7

[quote="Monica4316, post:5, topic:446645"]
I'm sorry I didn't mean to offend anyone! I am Eastern Catholic myself :)

I guess my question can be phrased this way:

Is it the term "uniate" that can be offensive or the concept? If its only the term, what is the reason? (I'm not too familiar with the history of that)

I am part of the Russian Byzantine sui iuris church. As I understand it was formed because of the efforts of some Catholics in Russia like Exarch Leonid Fyodorov (now Blessed), the Pope of course, and Archbishop Sheptytsky. It was formed also to help show the Orthodox that its possible to keep all ones heritage and tradition spiritually and yet also be Catholic in union with Rome. Also of course it was to avoid Latinization of the converts. My question is.. Today, of course Latinization would not be favoured. But as I read about the disagreement people today have with the "unia" I can't tell if the disageeement is with the term or the concept? I even remember reading that today the Church doesn't really look at this as a way to heal the Schism, but at least the Russian church was formed for this end - to help dialogue with the Orthodox. That was one of the ideas of Blessed Exarch Leonid Fyodorov, for this church to be like an example, that one can be Russian and Catholic in spirituality.

A lot of these people (as all Catholics) were really persecuted by the Communists. I think the last Exarch was Leonid Fyodorov and he died in prison. Today they don't have their own Bishop and are under the care of the Latin Bishop. Most Catholics in Russia are Latin rite or practising as Latin rite, because there are very few Eastern parishes. Exarch Fyodorov did say though that this church would be like a victim of the Schism, it would be a type of a suffering church. But I'm wondering does the Church today favour this idea as much as in the past, is it just the term "uniate" or the idea that is discouraged? Thanks

[/quote]

I think even the uniate concept was roundly criticized in the advent of ecumenism. It became one of the casualty of the ecumenical process.

The orthodox clearly hated the idea and saw It as undermining their church by creating rival churches in communion with Rome . Rome agreed to not continue such actions... So came the death of uniatism.


#8

Thanks for the replies... So its mostly because the Orthodox were upset about these churches? Is there anything official from the Church on this? I'm just trying to understand how we are supposed to approach this as Eastern Catholics. I'm Russian Byzantine.. So if I ever move to Russia, would the Church not want efforts to help this church grow? But we are told we shouldn't be Latinized and have a right to keep our traditions...isn't "uniatism" the only answer for those converts who want to stay Byzantine but also be Catholic? We are told we have a right to this and yet also we hear "uniatism" being discouraged... So I'm a little confused about what the Chuech's guidance is?

There must be something I'm misunderstanding here...:confused:


#9

It's a complex issue. It's my impression that, at first, the Roman Church felt that "uniatism" was the best way to accomplish the longed for union of the Roman and the Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox Churches felt that "uniatism" was the interference by the Roman Church in their own affairs, often supporting one of the quarreling parties inside their Churches. More recently, the Roman Church came to realize that "uniatism" undermined the effort for the union desired by Our Lord (v. Jn 17) and, though supporting the existing Catholic Eastern Churches and trying to undo the damage done to them by forced or compelled Latinization, slowed down such efforts in a large scale.


#10

[quote="Monica4316, post:8, topic:446645"]
. . . Is there anything official from the Church on this? . . .

[/quote]

I'm not aware of anything specifically addressing Uniatism that has disciplinary force. The Balamand Statement (1993) issued by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialog Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church deals specifically with Uniatism, but theological commissions are consultative bodies, and their statements are advisory and not binding. The document does state the opinion that "uniatism cannot be accepted either as a method to follow or as a model for the unity which is being sought by our Churches."

As far as documents with disciplinary force, you may want to look at the following:

-- The Code of Canon Law of the Eastern Churches states:
Canon 903 - The Eastern Catholic Churches have a special duty of fostering unity among all Eastern Churches, first of all through prayers, by the example of life, by the religious fidelity to the ancient traditions of the Eastern Churches, by mutual and better knowledge of each other, and by collaboration and brotherly respect in practice and spirit.

Canon 905 - In fulfilling ecumenical work especially through open and frank dialogue and common undertakings with other Christians, due prudence has to be kept avoiding the dangers of false irenicism, indifferentism and immoderate zeal.

The same Code (Canons 897-898) foresees the reception both of Orthodox clergy and faithful into the Catholic Church, so it's not like the Church has rescinded the teaching that the Catholic Church is the one Church founded by Christ (see Lumen Gentium no. 8). In fact this teaching cannot be rescinded because it is dogma (see, e.g., Denz. 246-247).

-- Pastoral principles and norms for ecumenism in general are outlined in:
[list]Decree on Ecumenism (1964); see esp. nos. 14-23 on the Eastern Churches[/list]
[list]Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993)[/list]

For good measure, the 1928 document Mortalium Animos has taken on a new relevance in the present time.


#11

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:446645"]
In reading about the relationship between the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, I came across the concept of "unia" where groups of Orthodox keep their traditions but join in union with Rome - as I understand this refers to Byzantine Catholics?

However, I sometimes hear about how this is the method that "was used in the past", but now it's basically frowned upon and not supported anymore by the Church. I was wondering is this true? and how does it affect us Eastern Catholics?

[/quote]

  • Archmandrite Robert L. STERN, General Secretary of the "Catholic Near East Welfare Association" (C.N.E.W.A.) (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

“Church” has many meanings. The Church's mystery can be described using “models”, none of which is adequate to describe it. We use “models”, whether conscious of it or not. The early church saw unity in terms of “pax et communio”. The church is held together by the Holy Spirit and personal bonds among its members, nurtured by communication. This model is echoed in the internet. The church as a “communio” is a personal communication network in the Spirit. Models affect decisions: The limitation of the jurisdiction of Eastern heads of churches “outside” their homelands presumes a geographic model; if a personal network, this is not appropriate. In the model of network, many churches in the same territory is normal, and rivalries and attempts to proselytize or dominate are inappropriate. Canon law favors a geographic notion of church; although people live·“in” a parish, in urban settings they choose their own. Emigration is similar: from the geographic view, we see traditional Christian populations diminish, but in the personal perspective we celebrate Christians wherever they choose to be. “Communio” grows with increasing and deeper personal communication, as do interreligious relations.
vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_24_speciale-medio-oriente-2010/02_inglese/b06_02.html

https://forums.catholic.com/picture.php?albumid=601&pictureid=19117


#12

One thing about the communities is that they have an influence beyond their numbers. For example the fact that we have mass in the vernacular since Vatican II for the western churches is a reult of the influence of the eastern Churches.


#13

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:446645"]
In reading about the relationship between the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, I came across the concept of "unia" where groups of Orthodox keep their traditions but join in union with Rome - as I understand this refers to Byzantine Catholics?

However, I sometimes hear about how this is the method that "was used in the past", but now it's basically frowned upon and not supported anymore by the Church. I was wondering is this true? and how does it affect us Eastern Catholics?

[/quote]

Personally I call them fellow Catholics.


#14

[quote="thephilosopher6, post:3, topic:446645"]
The term "Uniate" can be offensive to Eastern Catholics.

[/quote]

that's my understanding as well, there was a discussion about this a few years ago when "uniate" was included in a NY Times crossword puzzle


#15

The very reason why the offensiveness of the term 'uniate' is incomprehensible to the Latin Church is the same reason the Orthodox do not want communion with Rome. It builds the entire identity of a full embodiment of the Church* in its own right* around its communion with an external prelate.


#16

[quote="adamhovey1988, post:2, topic:446645"]
I feel kind of the same way about it as I feel when people mistakenly use the term "rite" to refer sui iuris churches. Inaccurate, mildly offensive, but probably an honest mistake by people using the terms.

[/quote]

[quote="thephilosopher6, post:3, topic:446645"]
The term "Uniate" can be offensive to Eastern Catholics.

[/quote]

Really people?


#17

[quote="MorEphrem, post:15, topic:446645"]
The very reason why the offensiveness of the term 'uniate' is incomprehensible to the Latin Church is the same reason the Orthodox do not want communion with Rome. It builds the entire identity of a full embodiment of the Church* in its own right* around its communion with an external prelate.

[/quote]

Indeed:


#18

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