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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vatican announces excommunication of rebel bishops from Ukrainian
Catholic Church

RSS Facebook March 29, 2012

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The Vatican has announced the excommunication of four Ukrainian
clerics who have sought recognition as leaders of the "Ukrainian
Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church."

In a March 29 announcement, the Vatican explained that the four
priests, who have been expelled from the Basilian religious order,
have caused grave divisions within the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic
Church, and resisted all efforts toward reconciliation. In 2008 the
four—Fathers Elias Dohnal, Markian Hitiuk, Metodej Spirik, and Robert
Oberhauser—claimed to have been ordained as bishops of the Ukrainian
Catholic Church, and proceeded to condemn the existing hierarchy of
that Church as heretical. They are now seeking recognition from the
Ukrainian government, claiming to be the legitimate representatives of
the Ukrainian Church in communion with Rome.

The Vatican said that the Holy See "does not recognize the validity of
their episcopal ordinations, or of any and all ordinations that have
derived, or will derive therefrom." The group has no right to use the
term "Catholic," the Vatican added. The statement cautioned the
faithful against becoming involved with the clerics, who now identify
themselves as the "Bishops of Pidhirci."

The Vatican statement noted that excommunication of the four priests
was pronounced in 2008, as the result of a sentence from the tribunal
of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which had found them guilty of
"illegitimate usurpation of office, inciting sedition and hatred
towards certain hierarchs, provoking subjects to disobedience, and
harming a third party's good name by calumny." The Ukrainian Catholic
Church is by far the largest of the Eastern churches in communion with

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   * Canonical Status of the So-Called Bishops of Pidhirci (VIS)