From the Bishop of Urirna.
SIR,—Why do British and American Catholics, who are so fervent in their own country, allow Protestantism to represent their countries in the East?
There is at the moment an excellent opportunity for Catholics out here: the whole world is interested in the question of Unity between Christians. Now, I think it is necessary to destroy former prejudices, and above all the idea that Rome wants to Latinise us, and thinks less of us than she does of the Latins. Naturally, prayer. and a great deal of courteous and understanding charity are always necessary.
Many of our young people enter the Latin Religious Orders, for they cannot find among our less strict monks the complete discipline practised in monasteries in the West. Why cannot this be effectively organised in our Rites, as it is in the West?
The most practical way to do this would be to follow the example of St. Theresa of Avila, and independently of the present monks, to establish a reformed branch of the Order of St. Basil, adapted to modern needs, like the Augustinians of the Assumption. I take the Order of St. Basil as an example, because it is everywhere held in honour, and St. Benedict himself called him in his Rule, " Our Father St. Basil."
This branch would receive people from every rite, each with the Mass and Breviary of his own rite, but living a community life. Only in this way would this Panritual Order be able to a. Find enough scope and enough workers for every possibility, and not to stagnate. An isolated rite would not be enough.
b. Form a permanent and living link between our different rites, and against the particularist spirit which characterises them, and weakens them—especially when their interests clash—to the great scandal of all.
c. Show them all in a tangible way the Unity of Faith in the variety of rites grouped together.
d. Carry weight by this strong Catholic United Front against our adversaries, who have united so successfully as to give us an energetic example" as Pius Xl. said at the pilgrimage in honour of St, Theresa, on April 4.
e. To do works which are useful to all the rites, but which are too expensive to be undertaken by them separately—especially in the small towns; such as Schools, Orphanages, etc. Do not forget this fact— in the East we are already in quite a small minority, and besides this, we are divided into as many as seven rites and different groups, which are independent of each other in everything. Each group has its local ordinary, its Clergy, its Church, its Good Works, its Possessions, etc. It is as if in Paris or New York the Catholics of every nationality had their Bishop, their Clergy, their Church, their Cemetery, etc., without the supreme and unifying authority of the Cardinal-Archbishop. What weakness and scattering of strength! Is it therefore astonishing that the Protestants prevail over us with their works of charity, for they are united. is it just?
The East, which was lost when it left the Pope, will only live again when it comes back to him.
The specifically Catholic Mystery, of the " living and permanent presence of Christ in His infallible Vicar"—the only mystery which constitutes the specific mark of Catholicism and the ultimate criterion of true orthodoxy—will be represented by our Panritual Order, which will be specially bound to the allegiance to the Pope, which will be its special characteristic, with the anniversary of the Papal Coronation as an annual feast, and triduums everywhere. What a sweet influence this would have on
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our separated brothers, and what excellent propaganda it would prove throughout the country in favour of our common Father!
The Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church, 76, Borgo Nuovo, Rome, in a letter issued on July 5, 1934, No. 201-34, answers a similar project for a Panritual Order, " la case idealmente e belle," with regrets that it is not able to help because of the crisis. For this reason people who are willing can send to the Congregation their alms for this intention.
Those interested in the financial aspects of the movement are asked to communicate with R. P. Paulus, Hetet-Dieu, Beirut, Lebanon Dist.
+ MGR. J. J. HANNA HEBBE,
Bishop of Urima, Syrian Catholic Bishop in Gezira.