Greek Catholics have every right, canonically and otherwise, to a full-fledged ecclesiastical legal establishment in Ukraine, the Pope reassured Cardinal Lubomir Guzar, Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. His Holiness is waiting for an auspicious day marked by the Lord, when a respective pontifical decision will come ripe and timely, he said.
"Your request is under serious consideration-in particular, in the context of other Christian Churches' opinions. You know it," added His Holiness as he called Greek Catholics of Ukraine not to lose their apostolic fortitude in waiting for a final decision on their ecclesiastical status.
His Eminence Guzar has been long and persistently working for a Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine-a status to grant him control of the world's Greek Catholic dioceses. Opinions differ in the Vatican City. Some approve a Greek Catholic upgrading, while others are apprehensive.
The Russian Orthodox Church top is bitterly objecting to the Patriarchate established. Sister Church Primates of Eastern Christendom share its point. The appearance of a Greek Catholic Patriarchate would put an end to whatever Russian Orthodox contacts with the Roman Catholic Church, His Beatitude Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, warned the Holy See on repeated occasions.
As far as Novosti knows from informed pontifical functionaries, the Holy See was moved to a painful decision to suspend the establishment of an Ukrainian Patriarchate by last February's negotiations, which Cardinal Walter Casper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, had with Russian Orthodox hierarchs in Moscow. To all appearances, the Roman Catholic top is wary of precipitate moves to satisfy Ukrainian Greek Catholic ambitions at the price of contacts with the Russian Orthodoxy.