By a Staff Reporter
The rift between Rome and the Ukrainian Catholic Church over the Pope's unwillingness to appoint Cardinal Joseph Slipyj as patriarch of the Ukrainian Church, widened last Sunday when police were called to deal with a demonstration at the Ukrainian Catholic cathedral near Oxford Street, London
The police, who were summoned by Bishop Augustine Hornyak, removed one of a group of demonstrators who were singing carols to prevent the Bishop from preaching his sermon.
No one was arrested and the other protesters, about a third of the congregation. left the cathedral quietly.
The controversy over the patriarchate highlights the extent to which many Catholics in the Communist world have been angered by the new Vatican policy of talks with Communist leaders. It also highlights the split within the Ukrainian church about how to respond to this situation.
Some East European Catholics and many in the Ukrainian church take a "Minds7enty style" approach to Communism; unco-operative, nationalistic and aggressive.
Many Ukrainian exiles feel that Vatican "Ostpolitik" is betraying their struggle against Soviet Russia and want support from Rome in their militant stand. The creation of a separate patriarchate would help unify the Ukrainian diaspora and carry on their cultural and national identity until the hoped for liberation comes.
The demonstration last Sunday was the second this year against Bishop Hornyak, the leader of the Ukrainian church in England, Wales and Scotland. The other, in which demonstrators sang and shouted to prevent the Bishop from preaching was on January 7, the Ukrainian Christmas Day.
The demonstrators, who are part of the international campaign for the creation of a patriarchate for the Ukraine, complain that Bishop Hornyak will not meet them and listen to their point of view.
"He refuses to recognise Cardinal Slipyj as head of the Ukrainian Church and now he refuses to talk to us, so we refuse to listen to him," said Mr Basil Deba, one of the protesters.
Protests have also been mounted in America, Rome, Australia and Canada to de mand that Ukrainian bishops officially recognise Cardinal Slipyj a„ patriarch. Bishop Pasko in Australia and Bishop Borecky in Toronto already publicly use the title patriarch when referring to Slipyj and the Cardinal has done nothing to dissociate himself from this.
Bishop Pasko argues that traditionally a patriarch does not have to be officially recognised by Rome, but is created by acclamation by the people.
Bishop Hornyak said that although he personally was in favour of Cardinal Slipyj being appointed patriarch, he would not go against the Pope's wishes. In 1969 he and all the other Ukrainian bishops signed a petition asking the Pope to recognise the patriarchate and about a month ago he wrote to the Pope suggesting that the honorary title of patriarch be conferred on Slipyj, but he is not prepared to take direct action.
"The law is the law," he said in an interview this week. "How
can a man consider himself a
Catholic if he disobeys what the Holy Father has decreed? Some of these troublemakers want to take it into their own hands and say that the will of God is the will of the people." Although Rome has said that the reasons for not creating a patriarchate are "pastoral and canonical" and not political, some observers believe that the decision is mainly dictated by the Vatican's policy of "Ost politik." This has completely reversed the hard line towards Communism taken by Pope Pius XII. The new policy which involves talks with Soviet leaders and of establishing friendly relations with the Orthodox Church in Russia, has infuriated many Ukrainians. Cardinal Slipyj, the 84 year old Archbishop Supreme of the Ukrainian Church, has not been consistent in his attitude to the problem. which dates back to his refusal to integrate the Ukrainian Church with the proSoviet Orthodox Church.
This refusal and his aggressive anti-Communist stance earned him 18 years in prison. Now liv ing in Rome he is the sole survivor of the eleven bishops who presided in the Ukraine until
1947. Recognition as the patriarch would give him enor
mous prestige and also power to create in conjunction with the synod new Ukrainian Rite bishops and new dioceses.
Over the years he has continually pressed for this recogni tion which is the prerogative of the Pope or the Ecumenical Council to grant.
Pope Paul has put off his request for two reasons. Firstly because most of the Ukrainian Church is scattered around the world and certainly could not exist institutionally in the Ukraine itself at present. Secondly because according to tradition a patriarch can only exercise his powers within a defined patriarchal territory, it is not opportune to create a patriarchate for the Ukrainian Church at present.
Cardinal Slipyj is known to he dissatisfied with this reply.
In a sermon he preached in St Sophia's in Rome on November 2. the Cardinal said that the patriarchate exists whether Rome recognises it or not.
"This is my position. As I told His Holiness, if you don't recognise the patriarchate someone else will, the next Pope or the Pope after him."