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Reviewed by:
  • I Rutheni Negli Stati Uniti: Santa Sede E Mobilità Umana Tra Ottocento E Novocento
  • Nicholas R.A. Rachford, Vicar Judicial
I Rutheni Negli Stati Uniti: Santa Sede E Mobilità Umana Tra Ottocento E Novocento by Federico Marti. Varese: Mori & C. S.p.A., 2009.

This monograph was published under the auspices of the faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome and is no. 36 in its juridical monograph series. There is a brief preface, a list of abbreviations, a few notes about the text and an introduction. Following the introduction are five chapters.

Chapter 1 gives the history of the origin of the term, Ruthenian, and the history of the Christianization of the Slav people and the development of ecclesial structures among those people.

Chapter 2 sets forth the cultural and political situation in the United States. It details the rise of American nationalism in the wake of the Irish immigration into a country that was, for the most part, Protestant and restrictive. This immigration set off a wave of anti-Catholic sentiment by the previously Protestant majority as they saw Catholics becoming the majority. This prompted action by the Roman Catholic bishops in the United States to Americanize Catholicism, especially by working against national parishes and the establishment of any personal nation dioceses.

Chapter 3 recounts the developments when the Slavs from the Austro-Hungarian Empire began to immigrate in 1879. They clashed with the Roman Catholic bishops who saw a different rite, a strong national identity of the Ruthenians, and married priests claiming to be under the jurisdiction of the bishop in the Old Country, who had sent them, as elements counter to their efforts to Americanize the Catholic Church and make it more acceptable to Protestants. The result was for the American bishops to pressure the Holy See to place the Greek-Catholic (Ruthenian) priests under the jurisdiction of the local Latin-rite bishop and to prohibit a married priesthood.

The chapter then moves to what measures were taken by the Holy See through the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith for the Affairs of the Eastern Rites. First was to insist that all Catholics, regardless of rite, were under the jurisdiction of the local Latin ordinaries. Next is a recounting of the legislative activity taken concerning Eastern-rite Catholics in the United States.

The uncertainty of this new situation in the Church led the American bishops to request the intervention of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith for the Oriental Rites. [End Page 275]

The rest of the book is of more interest to the canonist who wants to understand the role of the Congregation and the development of the legislative response over the ensuing years.

The first response of the Congregation was the October 1, 1890 instruction, Aliquibus abhinc annis, which directed that only celibate priests could minister in America and that they would depend exclusively on the jurisdiction of the Ordinary of the place and the Congregation had to be informed. The author then discusses the implications and results of the instruction. This included the proposal of establishing a ritual vicariate, as made by the Ruthenian bishops in Europe, and the response of the Congregation. He also records the response of the Ruthenian clergy in the United States. There follows a lengthy reflection on the Congregation's proposal to apply canon IX of the Fourth Lateran Council.

The author then moves to consideration of the Aug. 8, 1893, decree In variis Catholici Orbis Regionis, which addressed the problem of Easternrite Catholics moving to the Latin-rite Church. In variis allowed Catholics to receive the sacraments in another rite. This decree was amended in the light of Pope Leo XIII's apostolic letter, Orientalium dignitas of November 30, 1894. This occasioned an encyclical, In varie occasioni, from the Congregation on April 12, 1894, again requiring only celibate or widowed priests be permitted to minister anywhere in the world, the permissions for them to do so, and the requesting of faculties from the local Latin ordinary. The author discusses the implications of this innovation.

In the next part of the chapter, the author discusses...


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