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     Home > Synod >  2010-10-13 17:41:55
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Intervention of Mons. Dimitrios SALACHAS, Titular Bishop of Carcabia, Apostolic Exarch for the Catholics of Byzantine Rite living in Greece (GREECE)

The massive emigration of Eastern Catholic faithful from the Middle East to the West in territories of Latin ecclesiastical districts is an urgent problem of their pastoral care and of their legal status. Vatican II and later the supreme legislator in the Catholic Church, the Roman Pontiff, in his concern for the universal Church, with the promulgation of two Codes, one for the Latin Church and another for the Eastern Catholic Churches, thereby sufficiently provided them with adapted standards, prescribing faithful observance.
Foremost the Eastern Code enunciates a general principle, according to which the faithful of the Eastern Church, even if entrusted (commissi) to the pastoral care of a Bishop or a parish priest of another Church sui iuris, also included here is the Latin Church, remain however always members of their own Church, held to observe their own rite everywhere in the world, understood as their own liturgical, spiritual heritage and their discipline.
Another principle is as follows: In the places where a hierarchy for the Eastern faithful has not yet been established by the Apostolic See, one must retain as their own Hierarch (Ordinary) of the same faith, the Hierarch of another Church sui iuris, even of the Latin Church, that is, they are legally subject to the jurisdiction of the local Bishop, even of the Latin Church (can. 916,5).
In these cases, a right and duty of the Latin Bishop - who has Eastern Catholic faithful in his diocese - is to safeguard and guarantee to these faithful observance of their own rite, that is their own Liturgy and canonical discipline, and to provide and create that canonical ecclesial structure provided also by the Latin Code, as in for example the establishment of parish staff. Further, it is known that especially in the area of the Sacraments of Christian initiation and of marriage, the two Codes establish different norms, respectively codifying the legitimate diversity of the Latin and Eastern traditions. What this implies is that the Latin Bishop or parish priest should be sufficiently knowledgeable about these legitimate differences and encourage in practice the observance of the Eastern tradition for the Eastern faithful subject to their own jurisdiction, without imposing on the Eastern faithful - their subjects - the Latin discipline and practices, as often happens in Western countries simply out of ignorance.
It is urgent, therefore, that in the Latin seminaries in places where there are Eastern faithful, the students are also instructed in the area of the discipline that applies to the Eastern faithful. The same Bishops, the same parish priests in these Latin districts are required to know that discipline to guarantee the right and obligation of the Eastern faithful, their subjects, to observe their rite, that is to promote their Catholic and Eastern identity within the universal Church.
The supreme legislator has provided the Catholic Church with two canonical standards, that is two Codes, one for the Latin Church and one for the Eastern Church, which has recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its promulgation. Emigration therefore creates new, urgent pastoral needs which require even a summary, knowledge of this standard, that is that the Eastern Bishops know the Latin legislation, and that the Latin Bishops know the Eastern legislation. Vatican II (OE) teaches that, maintaining the unity of the faith and the one divine constitution of the universal Church, the Eastern Churches and the Western Churches have the right and the duty to practice according to their own discipline, more suitable for the good of the souls of their faithful.

[00065-02.03] [IN043] [Original text: Italian]


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