Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate via AP
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Ukrainian bishop says Rome doesn't understand Eastern Catholics

Thu 10 Mar 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A Ukrainian bishop has claimed that the Vatican does not understand Eastern Catholic perspective. 

Bishop Hlib Lonchyna from the Ukrainian Catholic Church has publically spoken out saying that the Catholic Church in Rome does not understand the perspective of the Byzantine Catholic community.

He was speaking after Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill held a historic meeting where the pair agreed to work together more closely.

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It was the first time the respective heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches have ever met and the two leaders also signed a joint declaration in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The Pontiff and Patriarch Kirill said they were ready to overcome their historical differences and consider themselves "not competitors, but brothers."

But Bishop Hlib Lonchyna claimed many Ukrainians were unhappy with this relationship, saying "there seem to be problems in how Rome understands the world."

Speaking to Catholic World News he said: "We don't doubt the goodness of Pope Francis," but he added that Vatican officials do not understand the problems that Eastern Catholics face in Ukraine.

He also said Rome did not understand the politics of the country: "Vatican officials are still calling this conflict a civil war, when it's really a Russian war of aggression."

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