Ukraine cardinal says “radical holiness” key to Christian unity

25.05.2001, 09:52
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians will be one when holiness and turning away from the sin of division is the primary aim of ecumenism, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Speaking at the consistory of the world's cardinals May 22, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Lviv said the key to Christian unity is a “completely radical holiness” that challenges and changes everyone's way of acting and thinking.

In his text, which he made available to the press, Cardinal Husar looked particularly at what divides the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic churches such as his own. “Between Catholics of the Eastern tradition and the Orthodox there exists only one essential difference: communion with the bishop of Rome,” he said. To establish full union between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, the cardinal said, the Orthodox “must not change any of their patrimony; they only must open themselves to full communion with the successor of Peter.” “Everything else must remain intact. We must not ask anything more than this,” Cardinal Husar said. And, he said, at that point “we Eastern Catholic Churches will have concluded our historic function” and can rejoin the family of “the currently Orthodox sister churches as was our condition before the divisions.” Attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to impose changes on the Eastern Catholic Churches, he said, push them further from the heritage they share with the Orthodox and can make the re-establishment of union with the Orthodox impossible. The division of Christianity is a “situation of disobedience to Christ,” he told his brother cardinals. Unity will be restored only when “a communion in holiness” is the priority of all Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant ecumenical efforts. What is needed is a holiness “able to accept and welcome the other, always and everywhere recognizing him as a child of God, a holiness which does not leave one tranquil and does not tranquilize because it constantly and incessantly seeks full conformity to the will of Jesus Christ our Lord,” the cardinal said. “We are all heirs of the sin of divisions,” he told the consistory. “No Christian can say to another: the fault of division lies with you alone.” The cardinal said the Gospel too often is used “for combat among us Christians, to divide us, and too seldom to unite us.” The Catholic Church will not be fully “catholic,” he said, as long as the divisions remain. “We must not resign ourselves to thinking of division as normal, but we must do everything so that communion is what is normal,” Cardinal Husar said.