CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Catholics won’t meddle in internal affairs of Orthodox Church

VATICAN CITY (CNS): “The Catholic Church must not meddle in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church nor in political questions. This is my attitude and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle are not obeying the Holy See,” Pope Francis said on May 30 when he met with a delegation led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.
 
With some Ukrainian politicians and leaders of some Ukrainian Orthodox communities working for the establishment of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church completely independent of Moscow, Pope Francis told Russian Orthodox leaders, “In Moscow, in Russia, there is only one patriarchate—yours,” he said. “We will never have another.”
 
Addressing the matter of Catholics taking sides on the matter, the pope said, “The Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to be born from among its members. We will never allow this. I don’t want this.”
 
In April, Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, with the support of the Ukrainian parliament, along with the bishops of two Ukrainian Orthodox communities—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church—formally petitioned Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to recognise the independence, or autocephaly, of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
 
However a third community of Orthodox Christians—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, which is in full unity with the Russian Orthodox Church, objected.
 
A statement on April 25 from the office of Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said the Eastern Catholic community sees the request as something “positive, but it is not participating and is not involved in this process because it is an internal affair of the Orthodox Churches.”
 
The statement said, “The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church considers this process an important step toward overcoming the divisions among the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and their isolation in the Orthodox world.” 

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