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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a Romanian Greek Catholic parish that sought the return of its property from the Romanian Orthodox Church.




In 1948, Romania’s Communist regime violently suppressed the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, and turned over its properties to the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1990, following the fall of Communism, Romania granted legal recognition to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church.

Since 1996, the Romanian Greek Catholic parish in Lupeni has sought the return of its property. After exhausting all appeals at the domestic level, the local diocese turned to the European Court of Human Rights.

The court ruled that Romania violated two principles of the European Convention on Human Rights—“the breach of the principle of legal certainty” and “the length of the proceedings”—and awarded 17,821 euro ($19,191) in damages.

However, the European court upheld a Romanian court’s key ruling that


the church building being claimed and two parsonages in Lupeni had been constructed between 1906 and 1920 by Eastern-rite Orthodox and Greek Catholic worshippers and that, after its construction, the church building had been used alternately for services by both denominations …

[A]ccording to the most recent census, there were 24,968 Orthodox worshippers and 509 Greek Catholic worshippers in Lupeni ...[The disposition of property] must be determined taking account of the wishes of the worshippers in the community that is in possession of the properties.

In a dissenting opinion, four European court judges wrote that


the protection of minorities is almost always unpopular and the protection of religious minorities is even more so. Europe has a long history of religious majorities disregarding the rights of religious minorities. This is an area where present-day democratic standards oblige a majority to show restraint, for the sake of respecting minorities. Unfortunately this case shows that States are often reluctant to undo the injustice committed to religious minorities when the interest of the religious majority is at stake.

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/head...ryid=30123
These kinds of disputes are the precise reason why it will always be near impossible to heal the schism - apart from a miracle of God, of course.
I think the ECHR made the right decision, and here's why:

This issue is in some ways analogous to the calls for reparations to black people in America.  In Romania, you have a building that was once owned by one religious group, and it was stolen by the government and given to a religious group that didn't build it.  No one seems to be arguing the injustice in that.

However, now the building is occupied by the other religious group, and the congregation is 50x larger than the former occupants.  What was the court supposed to do, displace 25000 people, who themselves are not guilty of the injustice, and give the building back to 500 people, who themselves were not the victims of the injustice?

Ideally, the Orthodox congregation would show the Catholic congregation some Christian charity and allow them to use the building for their services as well if they can't afford to build, buy or rent a building of their own.
(12-07-2016, 10:50 AM)Papist Wrote: [ -> ]These kinds of disputes are the precise reason why it will always be near impossible to heal the schism - apart from a miracle of God, of course.

And sadly these seizures happened on both sides. The most recent were the Soviets taking Greek Catholic property and giving it to the Orthodox, but the Catholics have done the same thing. I was just reading the other day about Poland seizing well over a hundred Orthodox parishes in the early 20th century and forcing the majority of them to convert to Roman-rite Catholicism, and a few to Byzantine-rite Catholicism. So much ugliness!
(12-08-2016, 01:39 AM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-07-2016, 10:50 AM)Papist Wrote: [ -> ]These kinds of disputes are the precise reason why it will always be near impossible to heal the schism - apart from a miracle of God, of course.

And sadly these seizures happened on both sides. The most recent were the Soviets taking Greek Catholic property and giving it to the Orthodox, but the Catholics have done the same thing. I was just reading the other day about Poland seizing well over a hundred Orthodox parishes in the early 20th century and forcing the majority of them to convert to Roman-rite Catholicism, and a few to Byzantine-rite Catholicism. So much ugliness!
Indeed
(12-08-2016, 01:39 AM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-07-2016, 10:50 AM)Papist Wrote: [ -> ]These kinds of disputes are the precise reason why it will always be near impossible to heal the schism - apart from a miracle of God, of course.

And sadly these seizures happened on both sides. The most recent were the Soviets taking Greek Catholic property and giving it to the Orthodox, but the Catholics have done the same thing. I was just reading the other day about Poland seizing well over a hundred Orthodox parishes in the early 20th century and forcing the majority of them to convert to Roman-rite Catholicism, and a few to Byzantine-rite Catholicism. So much ugliness!

I'm all for converting from Orthodoxy to Catholicism, even if it means Eastern Orthodox become Roman Catholic. The ideal would be that they would attend an Eastern Rite parish, but it doesn't always work out that way. Still, better to be Catholic and Roman than not Catholic.

Most Catholics don't have or want to have any concept of their being a rite that is Catholic that is more similar to Orthodoxy than it is to Roman Catholicism. For some people, that's too complicated.  Before we had such access to information as we have now, this was especially true.

Politics also came into play with regards to Poland. Parts of Poland went back and forth between Russia, Poland, and other western countries for years. It makes sense that the state-sponsored religion of the area would shift depending on who was in charge.
(12-08-2016, 08:08 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-08-2016, 01:39 AM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-07-2016, 10:50 AM)Papist Wrote: [ -> ]These kinds of disputes are the precise reason why it will always be near impossible to heal the schism - apart from a miracle of God, of course.

And sadly these seizures happened on both sides. The most recent were the Soviets taking Greek Catholic property and giving it to the Orthodox, but the Catholics have done the same thing. I was just reading the other day about Poland seizing well over a hundred Orthodox parishes in the early 20th century and forcing the majority of them to convert to Roman-rite Catholicism, and a few to Byzantine-rite Catholicism. So much ugliness!

I'm all for converting from Orthodoxy to Catholicism, even if it means Eastern Orthodox become Roman Catholic. The ideal would be that they would attend an Eastern Rite parish, but it doesn't always work out that way. Still, better to be Catholic and Roman than not Catholic.

Well, if they are choosing to become Catholic, I could agree. But that wasn't really the case...

Quote:Most Catholics don't have or want to have any concept of their being a rite that is Catholic that is more similar to Orthodoxy than it is to Roman Catholicism. For some people, that's too complicated.  Before we had such access to information as we have now, this was especially true.

Sure, but that's not really an ideal we should base policy on; it's contrary to St. Pius X's statement that Eastern Catholic worship should be "nec plus nec minus nec aliter" than Orthodox worship. People should not be denied their legitimate ancestral traditions because other people are too ignorant to look outside their own bubble. "Catholic" is not coterminous with "Roman," nor should it be.

Quote:Politics also came into play with regards to Poland. Parts of Poland went back and forth between Russia, Poland, and other western countries for years. It makes sense that the state-sponsored religion of the area would shift depending on who was in charge.

Yes, it makes sense that it happens that way, but I'm not sure that's the most Christ-like approach, and if that's how we're going to play, Catholics can't really complain when political fortunes change (and politics are always a big part of these situations). We can say "but we're the True Faith!" all we want to defend why it's OK for us to take their property, but we won't find many sympathetic ears when it goes the other way. And the Orthodox are not shy about stating that they have the true faith!

Some of the faithful in these regions over the years have stopped caring who owns what. A fellow parishioner of mine went to Slovakia to visit the village her father had grown up in. She visited the parish where he had been baptized. They were Ruthenian Catholic in those days, but Orthodox now, as they had also been before they were Catholic. She said most people in the village just shrugged about it. It's gone back and forth so much over the years, it's just tiresome to worry about. The liturgies are the same, just a different bishop's name in the litanies. They kind of have the attitude of "let the clergy bicker all they want, and we'll just pray and do our jobs." Not sure I can blame them.