” His Beatitude has already told us about the situation in Ukraine , in particular the situation of the churches ,” – Secretary of the Commission «Caritas in Veritate»
We present you an interview with Fr. Luis Okulik, Secretary of the Commission «Caritas in Veritate», which is created due to the complex (in terms of the Church social doctrine) social situation in Europe. The Commission works under the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe. The current socio-political situation in Ukraine is commented in the interview.
Father Luis, we know that is not your first visit to Ukraine. I think you can see the changes that have taken place in our country for several years.
I had once visited Ukraine. This time I was lucky enough to be here during the week. It is worth noting that the country had changed in the social dimension. This is clearly seen. I was pleasantly surprised that a little more than 20 years theUGCC has been so structurally developed. It was hard to imagine that 50 years ago. In particular, the Church enters into various spheres: political, social,cultural. It occupies an active niche in the social life. And it is important: so young UGCC is “getting on its feet” and it gives the future prospect.
In the current situation in Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (and not only it) has a clear position. Although the Church is separated from the state, we see that the priests of various denominations support people at the Maydan: confess, serve liturgy and pray at night. Is this the correct position of the Church? Should the Church take part in complex socio-political situations?
This important task is entrusted to the bishops – they have to look at what is happening around, to distinguish between what is good and what is evil, and in accordance with it they should act. When it comes to the Catholic Church, its objective primarily is to shed light on things that happen,make people belonging to the Church,see themselves in this light, and act according to the faith and teaching of the Church. Supporting people by the Greek Catholic clergy at the Maydan is a prophetic gesture. For thus the Church shares the fate of its people and defends Christian values. We see that almost all the denominations are in line with citizens. The church has the responsibility to support the will of the people, which corresponds to the Christian views. Yesterday (16 December) Pope Francis during the Mass said the interesting words. He believes that prophecy is a part of the Church, and when it is not done, it creates a blank space, people forget about the prophetic mission of the Church and in the first place there is power.
At the Maydan there is a chapel, which is famous as ecumenical. However, there is one Church, which condemned the will of the Ukrainian people – UOC (MP). Furthermore, logically, if peaceful assembly fails – there will be a lot of misunderstanding between the UGCC and the authorities. How would you comment on this position of the Church, which condemns the Ukrainian people’sattitude?
Obviously, the people who hold a meeting belong to different churches. And those Churches support them. We can see such a connection between them. The fact that someone (here one Church is) sees the fate of Ukraine in another way, should be taken as a position that has always been known in history. Such views of the UOC (MP) manifested in two aspects: when it came to purely political processes and the ecumenical dialogue.
How do Italians react on events in Ukraine?
There is no clear reaction. However, there are two striking points: the world has seen the phenomenon of people numerical performance and violence that have been used by the present government to peaceful protesters. This is clearly indicated in the European press.
Were theevents in Ukraine discussed among the members ofthe Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and what are the results of this?
Some opinions were heard. His Beatitude Svyatoslav talked about the situation in Ukraine earlier, in particular about the situation of the churches. Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Budapest, the President of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe applied regarding this the other presidents of episcopal conferences. In particular, the point was about the supporting of basic Christian values.
Interviewed Ruslana Tkachenko