9. The Vatican’s eloquent silence

9. The Vatican’s eloquent silence

That which is especially provocative however is the Vatican’s silence in its response, not only to the demand of the Orthodox but also to the demand of many within its own bosom, to abolish Unia.  I personally believe that the recent televised statement of the Greek Uniates’ representative is a sincere one, that is, their desire is that they be abolished.

From as early as the time of the 2nd Vatican Synod (1962-65), many reactions had been recorded on the matter of the continuing existence of Unia and in fact, at a time of an inter-Christian Dialogue and a special Dialogue with the Latin “Church”, but also after the many concessions that the Orthodox side had repeatedly made in favour of the Dialogue, as a gesture of good will. Furthermore, the request to abolish Unia had been a pan-Orthodox one, in view of the fact that it was detrimental to the Dialogue and to relations between the two sides. It was in fact stressed that the existence of Unia and the perpetuation of its pitiful role generated reactions that could threaten that very European unity, for which the Pope claims to be so supportive of.

Renowned Roman Catholic theologians had also joined their voices with the Orthodox side; theologians who had preserved their sincerity and honesty and who appeared to have also preserved their freedom of opinion.  The acclaimed French university theologian Yves Congar for example had referred to Unia as a “caricature and a clear contradiction to the union”, while the excellent researcher of monastic tradition Louis Boyer had referred to Unia as a “mischievousness”, adding that: “We cannot look into the function of Byzantium without taking into account the entirety of Byzantine Christianity”, probably implying Orthodoxy. An analogous stance was taken by others as well (G.Wunderle, P.Wenger etc.).  More especially, and as a top priority, the Church of Greece had pointed out the danger behind Unia and had repeatedly asked for its abolition; and yet, the Vatican turned a deaf ear!

The 2nd Vatican Synod, characterized as “unifying” because its chief objective was the approximation of East and West, not only did NOT proceed to disband Unia, but contrary to the “Decree regarding the Eastern Catholic Churches”, it reinforced Unia and even contributed towards its restructuring, so that it may continue its role within Orthodox and Eastern Christian communities.  In fact, with its prompting towards a sacramental union of Uniates and “dissenters” with Rome itself, it created yet another, greater threat for Orthodoxy. Furthermore, its proclamation of the prelates of Ukraine and Rumania as Uniate Cardinals was intentionally designed, precisely so that the role of Unia would be upgraded in the more critical areas of Europe.

This is why it was a huge error on the part of the Orthodox to agree to the presence of Uniates in the Theological Dialogue with the “Roman Catholic Church”,  albeit this fact was suppressed by means of various announcements. The Orthodox should have remained adamant in this detail, having noticed the audacity of our fellow-speakers. The Vatican’s insistence on the presence of Uniates in the Dialogue only proved its true intentions and its unchanging tactics. Unfortunately, the reactions that were voiced were not hearkened to, and we were left with illusions. However, what had not become evident at the time God now revealed, with the un-Orthodox and anti-Hellenic actions of the Vatican: our sovereign rights as a Nation had to be compromised, for us to begin to become aware of the immense corruption that the Vatican had caused to Orthodox nationalities!

But, albeit belatedly, the Orthodox side had hastened to correct its first mistake when, at the time of the Perestroika the Vatican broke open its medieval arsenal to the detriment of Orthodoxy. Thus, the Sub-committee for the Dialogue between Orthodoxy-Roman Catholicism had issued a decision in Vienna (January 1990), that rejected Unia as a “unifying model” and also condemned its proselytism and its other activities and re-submitting its petition to disband Unia.  In June of 1990, all the Orthodox, in mutual agreement, postponed the theological Dialogue with the Vatican until the issue of Unia be solved.  In December of 1991, the Metropolitan of Italy Spyridon spoke on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the Synod of European Bishops in Rome, in the presence of the Pope, and had condemned the “rebirth” and the activities of the Uniates in Eastern Europe.  Even the new Patriarch Bartholomew in his address to the Papist envoys during the enthronement ceremony on the day of Commemoration of Saint Andrew (30 Nov. 1991) had outspokenly expressed the danger involved, not only in the postponement but also the aborting of the Theological Dialogue, if the activities of Unia were to continue.

After all the above, one would expect the Pope and the Vatican to respond with some sort of gesture of reassurance. But that did not happen. And the question remains: WHY? Why does the Vatican insist on supporting the existence and the activities of Unia in its campaigns throughout Eastern Europe? Why did the Pope ask – through his ambassador (Nuncio) – the Government of Russia to recognize the equivalence of Unia to Orthodoxy, offering in exchange its intermediation to the Governments of Europe, for financial aid to destitute Russia?  Why does the Pope persist in blatantly disregarding the Orthodox, and with such arrogance at that?

Apart from the familiar self-importance that is flaunted by Papacy, could there be another, more specific reason? The answer is affirmative.

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