I. Formation of Priests and Religious

1) Recognizing that the proper formation of seminarians is vital for the future health of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, we ask the Holy Synod to require that aspirants be trained in Byzantine seminaries, which must be kept free of all influences of the current neo-Modernism. Should it prove impossible in some cases to train seminarians in Byzantine seminaries, then scrupulous care must be given to the choice of a non-Byzantine seminary which is proven faithful to the magisterium. (The same considerations should be given to the education of religious, mutatis mutandis.)
The intention of obtaining advanced university degrees, however, should not be invoked as a reason to prevent seminarians or religious from receiving formation in Eastern Catholic institutions, especially considering the current, urgent need for pastors of souls to serve the faithful, and the deplorable state of so many western institutions and seminaries.

2) Given that many aspirants incur significant personal debt from undergraduate studies before entering seminary, we ask the Holy Synod to exhort all ordinaries in the United States to bear the cost of seminary education for native (US) aspirants. (The same considerations should be given to the education of religious, mutatis mutandis.)

3) Recognizing the ‘iconography’ of the sacred priesthood as a glimpse of the sublime priesthood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and in order also to preserve and safeguard the traditional integrity of sacerdotal orders, we ask the Holy Synod to retain the male exclusivity of the so-called ‘minor orders’ by precluding women and/or girls from any order of service or any role whatsoever in the sanctuary or presbyterium at Divine Liturgy (or the other Sacred Mysteries).
It is deeply lamentable that girls and women appear in official service in the Western Rite (whether as ‘extraordinary ministers’, lectors or altar servers). We ask the Holy Synod never to permit such practices in the Ukrainian Church, and to keep in mind also that such practices are used by feminist and neo-Modernist ideologues to agitate for the supposed eventual ‘ordination’ of priestesses.


II. Catechesis of the Faithful, especially Youth

1) Recognizing that the catechesis of the faithful, especially of youth, is among the primary sacred duties of parents, pastors and bishops, and that the Holy Faith and the passing on of it in integrity must be safeguarded these days especially from neo-Modernist influences circulating in the Latin Rite and/or from non-Catholic and secular sources, we ask the Holy Synod to exhort all authorities in ecclesial offices of education to be on guard against neo-Modernist influences and errors, and to enjoin all ordinaries to give just heed to the legitimate appeals of the faithful, especially in those matters which pertain directly to the faithful’s duties of state in life, or to their particular competencies.
We ask this especially in light of evidence of deterioration in catechesis as well as evident neglect in the vigilance required to safeguard catechesis in our Rite. To cite one serious example: In the United States a case of public scandal involving, inter alia, the influence of neo-Modernist and other heterodox errors has arisen. The scandal has been thoroughly documented for the proper authorities; however, it has remained uncorrected and unrepaired by the authorities, without (in this case) even so much as a reply from the ordinary to the laity’s appeal.
III. Liturgy

1) One English translation of the Divine Liturgy currently in use exhibits — besides linguistic inaccuracies — the influence of neo-Modernist errors or ambiguities, and borrows from theologically defective English translations of Latin Rite texts. These influences have also arisen in the translations of the Holy Gospel and Epistles, as well as for the tropars and kondaks. Among these influences must also be numbered the first signs or stages of so-called inclusive language. (For example, words such as “Lover of mankind” are replaced with “Lover of humankind”; or, words such as “mankind” or “men” are omitted from the translation altogether, thus requiring new formulations or expressions.)
We ask the Holy Synod to enjoin all ordinaries scrupulously to guard against any such incursions and to repair, purify and render authentic (where necessary) all translations used in official public liturgical prayer.

2) The use of so-called “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist” has become a rather commonplace source of scandal and abuse in the Western Church. The initiative must be taken to safeguard the Ukrainian Church from similar abuses. Given the diminishing numbers of priests in the United States, we ask the Holy Synod to augment the diaconate (with men only, of course), but to do so with both the prudence and the precautions called for by the times, so as to avoid any abuse of the Sacred Mysteries or scandal to the faithful.

3) Given the observance of ‘presanctified liturgy’, we ask the Holy Synod to recognize the ancient, customary prerogative of the faithful to assist at the Sacrifice of Divine Liturgy daily in their parishes throughout the entire year, without interruption. (Confer the attached letter from Father Constantine Belisarius, a Melkite priest, to his Eparch, dated August 15, 1997.)

4) We ask the Holy Synod to encourage and invite the faithful to restore the observance of all Holy Days which Eastern Catholics have traditionally observed and to discontinue the western trend to reduce the number of Holy Days.

5) Questions, disagreements and some confusion have arisen in parishes over the postures which the faithful may assume during the liturgical seasons at specific times of the Divine Liturgy. Among the most common examples of such have to do with the choice between kneeling or standing at the words of Consecration (and thereafter) during Pascha. At stake is, in part, the legitimate freedom of the faithful to express themselves in accord especially with the habits of custom (but also with personal pious devotion). The faithful in North America have, as the habit of custom for centuries, knelt at said times. However, disputes have arisen in not a few cases on account of changes to the contrary being introduced.
We ask the Holy Synod to safeguard the legitimate freedom of the faithful to maintain the pious practice of kneeling during those parts of the Divine Liturgy which the habit of custom has established (including during Pascha). (Cf. §28 in Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. “As can. 1507 specifies, custom is the fruit of the continuous and uncontested practice of the local community, precious because it is rooted in the life of the people.”)


IV. The Call of the Faithful to Holiness

1) Due especially to the universal, public scandals which arise from immodest, modern fashions (particularly in the west), we ask the Holy Synod to exhort and direct the laity to dress modestly and decently at all times and especially at Divine Liturgy. Such exhortation will require delicate, but also diligent and repeated appeals to the faithful from pastors. Compliance with the practical norms of modesty may be left to the prudent exercise of the pastor, with his ultimate prerogative to deny reception of the Sacred Mysteries, especially the Holy Eucharist, to those who approach the Holy of Holies immodestly attired. (The attachment “On Modesty”, citing the testimony of the Blessed Mother of God, of Saint John Chrysostom and of the Holy See, is of no little benefit in explaning the importance of the practice of modesty in dress. Certainly the widespread immodesty in public attire has provoked many other sexual immoralities in our day.)

2) Given that Ukrainian Catholic spouses in the United States tend to give families of very few children to the Church, and given the scandalous prevalence of the use of contraception among so many married couples in the west, we beg the Holy Synod to exhort Ukrainian Catholic spouses in the United States to observe diligently and faithfully all the sacred duties and pious practices of chaste wedlock.

3) In the United States there are increasing certain irreverent habits among the faithful, particularly at Divine Liturgy — even such practices as boisterous conversation in the presence of the Eucharist. We ask the Holy Synod to enjoin the faithful to deport themselves in churches and other holy places with the reverence due the Eucharistic Lord and/or called for by the particular place. This includes silence and reserve before the Holy of Holies especially, and could also extend to the recovery of the practice of separating the faithful, so that women take their place on the side of the Theotokos and men on the other. (The theological reasons for so doing should also be given the faithful.)

4) Parents must be exhorted by pastors to provide adequate formation and Christian education to their children, especially as regards the preparation for receiving Holy Communion after First Confession. We ask the Holy Synod to exhort parents to bring their children to First Confession soon after they attain the use of reason. Such preparation requires that pastors remind parents to withhold children from Holy Communion upon the onset of the age of reason (assuming that the children have received Holy Communion during their early years of innocence).

5) Of course, among the best examples of due reverence to the Holy Eucharist is for parents to instruct their children by their own example of frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession. To reverse the current decline in the recourse to this Holy Mystery among Ukrainian Catholics in North America, we ask the Holy Synod to exhort pastors to preach regularly to the faithful on the benefits of and needs for frequent sacramental confession of sins to a priest, including the need for the confession of deadly sins before approaching the Holy Eucharist. (Cf. Instruction, op.cit., §90: “... the more individual aspect of the sacrament of Penance, traditional in the Eastern Churches, is to be maintained, encouraged and eventually recuperated where it has not been sufficiently practiced.”)

6) We ask the Holy Synod to retain and encourage wholesome popular devotions (whether originated in East or West). For example, the more western devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (encouraged as it was by the Servant of God Andrew Sheptytsky) could be retained and cultivated under titles not disruptive to Eastern Christian piety, viz. Lord Only Lover of Mankind or Sweetest Lord Jesus. We ask the Synod to recall that the Synod of 1940 exhorted the faithful to practice this devotion — the same Synod which prepared the Ukrainian nation for decades of persecution and martyrdom. This is not to say that such devotions such as the Akathist should not be introduced where absent. (Cf. Instruction, op. cit., §38: “But since these devotions are by now much diffused in the Eastern Catholic Churches and, in fact, feed and comfort their faithful, it would be seriously imprudent and a sign of pastoral insensitivity to believe that they must simply be eradicated.”)

7) Furthermore, we ask the Holy Synod to encourage the universal devotion of the Holy Rosary and especially the already widespread, indispensable devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and the consequent First Five Saturdays, especially considering the relevance of Russia’s conversion to Ukrainian Catholics. Such devotion could be cultivated under the title of Our Lady of Tenderness, Our Lady of Hrushiv or some other suitable Eastern title. We ask also that the recitation of the ‘Jesus Prayer’ be recovered among our people, since the Holy Rosary and the Jesus Prayer represent an authentic inculturation of the holy liturgy of the Church among the faithful. (Cf. Instruction, op. cit., §28 & 38.)

8) In reparation for sin and for progress in virtue, we ask the Holy Synod to encourage and invite the faithful to observe the traditional fasts and abstinences, including the former Eucharistic fast.

9) We ask the Holy Synod to exhort women to restore the practice of covering their heads at the Divine Liturgy and during the other Sacred Mysteries, in accord with the charge of the Apostle. (See I Corinthians 11.)


V. ‘Reality Check’ or Assessment of the Current Situation in the US

Our parishes are ‘graying’ and dwindling with the passing of aging parishioners. Many, many of the children of our aging Ukrainian faithful are attending Latin parishes, or no church at all. As the Holy Synod must surely know, very few Ukrainian Catholic spouses, sad to admit, are nowadays giving families of many children to our Church.

In the United States the Ukrainian Church is no longer a ‘church of immigrants’. In the US, at least, a significant and increasing contributor to the rejuvenation of our parishes is already coming from non-Ukrainians, i.e., converts and former Latin Rite Catholics seeking to lead lives imbued by authentic Catholicism.

With an already shrinking base of financial support in many parishes, it becomes all the more important for the future of the Church in North America not to alienate practicing Catholics by misapplication of the Instruction.

Though there have arisen and may yet arise still more disagreements about the application of the Holy See’s Instruction, Catholics are obliged to behave according to the ancient maxim of truth and charity: In what is necessary, unity; in what is doubtful, freedom; and in all things, charity.

Above all, the integrity of the Faith and unity must be preserved. Varying opinions about the application of the Instruction notwithstanding, it is the Faith which is necessary and which principally unites the Catholic people of all the churches or rites. As the Second Vatican Council has declared:

That Church, Holy and Catholic, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit through the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining into various groups held together by a hierarchy, form separate churches or rites. (Orientalium Ecclesiarum, § 2)



VI. Plea for a ‘Commission of Recourse’


Now that the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has issued the Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, the faithful are expecting and have already encountered not a few changes or calls for changes of traditional practices and long-standing popular devotions. These changes and rumors of changes have already brought, some of them, unsettling consequences, even alarm among the faithful.


In light of the often excessive and unsettling trends brought about by the aggiornamento in the Church at large for the past 30 years (especially as regards liturgical reform), we ask the Holy Synod to establish in L’viv a Commission of Recourse for the purpose of addressing the legitimate interests and appeals of the clergy and laity, and/or for correcting potential abuses or disputes not settled by the local ordinary, which arise as a consequence of the application of the Holy See’s Instruction in the United States and elsewhere.

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