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When East Meets West View Comments
By Marianne C. Sailus

WHEN METROPOLITAN John of Pergamon met with Blessed John Paul II on June 28, 1998, he said, “As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breathes; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

On June 24, 2001, Pope John Paul II, in a meeting with members of the Ukrainian Catholic episcopate, reiterated this: “Here there is a fraternal meeting between those who draw from the sources of Byzantine spirituality and those who are nourished by Latin spirituality. Here the deep sense of mystery which suffused the holy liturgy of the Eastern Churches and the mystical succinctness of the Latin Rite come face to face and mutually enrich each other.”

Having been adopted into a Western (Roman) Catholic family, having received the Sacraments of Initiation in that Church, and later having participated in its various ministries (religious education, lectoring, music ministry, youth ministry, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, etc.), I have a fondness in my heart for the Church of my youth.

However, in 1992 at the age of 33, after six months of preparation with my pastor, I officially changed from Roman Catholic to Eastern Catholic and became a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Byzantine Particular Churches, as a way to increase my own spirituality. Today I enjoy worshiping in my Eastern and Western traditions.

This article illustrates the beauty and richness and diversity of both Churches, without detracting anything from either. The focus here is on the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

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Marianne C. Sailus is chaplain and coordinator of pastoral care at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Wilkes-Barre Township (Pennsylvania). She holds graduate degrees in religious studies and theology, and is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but she oon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p>
American Catholic Blog Those who want to participate more fully in salvation history are comforted by the fact that Jesus wants to walk with us in our suffering and wants to break bread to give us strength on our way.

 
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