(Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register – february 8, 2020) Ukraine’s Latin Rite Catholic bishops have issued a fraternal correction of the German bishops, saying their stance on LGBT issues and their attitude to natural law with respect to their “synodal path” is “a threat to the faithful in Ukraine.”
The bishops, who made the comments in a letter published in part on the Polish Catholic website wPolityce.pl, also blamed Germany’s bishops for accusations from Protestants and Eastern Orthodox faithful that the Catholic Church was departing from the revealed truth, and called on Germany’s episcopate to be faithful to holy Scripture and Tradition.
The letter’s signatories included all the episcopal members of the Church’s Commission for the Family, headed by Auxiliary Bishop Radoslaw Zmitrowicz of Kamyanets-Podilskyi.
The German bishops’ two-year synodal path, which got fully underway Jan. 30 with a plenary assembly, aims to tackle “key issues” arising from the clerical sex abuse crisis and will focus on four main topics: the exercise of power in the Church, priestly life today, sexual morality, and the role and position of women in the Church.
Supporters of the process, the first of its kind in Church history, argue it is a process of listening and dialogue, which aims to overcome differences, find solutions and lead to “conversion and renewal.”
But critics are concerned the process, which has already resulted in statements contrary to Church teaching, represents a quasi-Protestant church parliament that will lead the Church in Germany into schism and ultimately spread doctrinal chaos throughout the Church.
Referring in particular to the German bishops’ commission for marriage and family, which asserted in December that homosexuality is a “normal form of sexual predisposition,” the Ukrainian bishops pointed to a “deep crisis” in their country because of “our Western neighbors,” and stressed that the German bishops’ stance on some issues is a “threat to the faithful in Ukraine,” according to a Feb. 10 report by Pch24.pl.
The Latin Rite is one of several rites of the Catholic Church in the country, comprising 0.8% of Ukraine’s population of 42 million in a 2018 survey. The other rites include the Ruthenian and Armenian Churches and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is by far the largest, representing 9.4% of Ukraine’s population.
Ukraine’s Latin Rite is closely identified with the nation’s Polish minority. Its leadership remains firmly in the hands of ethnic Poles, but over the past 10 years the percentage of native Ukrainians being appointed to its episcopate has increased.
In their Feb. 10 letter, the bishops wrote that “LGBT circles are carrying out a mass ideological attack against our youth and children in order to corrupt them morally.” They added that the such organizations “justify their activities and their propaganda also with the new outlook of the German Episcopate.
“It hurts us when we see how LGBT propaganda invokes your own wording to fight both Christianity and everyone who recognizes the true anthropology based on the Bible and natural law,” they wrote in the letter.
“Some of our faithful, who carry the burden of homosexuality and other wounds in the sexual sphere, learning about such statements of your Commission, feel helpless in their struggle to lead a chaste life,” they continued, adding that those in marriages who are opposed to the “contraceptive mentality of this world” also experience “deep doubts after reading your opinions about contraception.”
They observed that in light of the synodal path, members of the Catholic Church in Ukraine have been accused of departing from the revealed truth, and they cited the position of the German bishops as the reason for such accusations.
“They see your stance not as your own private teaching, or even a separate path of the Church in Germany, but as the stance of the whole Catholic Church,” the bishops wrote.
According to Pch24.pl, they said the Church’s clear teaching on sexual issues, rather than giving in to LGBT proposals and the sexual revolution, would be a better response to the challenges of the modern times.
The Church in Germany’s synodal path proposes taking the Church in an “opposite direction which destroys human lives,” the letter continued. “It closes them to the love which was brought by Jesus Christ. Without this love, man cannot be happy.
“Certainly, there are always difficulties and falls but the direction is important,” the signatories continued, adding that that direction should be one which leads people toward living out sexuality as a “wonderful gift for a man and a woman, to create an agape-Caritas relation which is also a Sacrament, a communion of persons and a gift of new life.”
“Otherwise we are following a path of life in which man is subjected to the power of eros,” the statement said, “which means he lives without Christ, lonely and under the power of his own ego and his own passion.”