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Spiritual crisis lies behind economic troubles, says Ukrainian Catholic leader

By on Friday, 28 September 2012

Archbishop Shevchuk (Photo: CNS)

Archbishop Shevchuk (Photo: CNS)

Western secularism underlies the worldwide economic crisis and challenges the future of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has told Canada’s bishops.

“The current economic crisis is merely the symptom of a much deeper spiritual and cultural crisis,” Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said at the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. “As western society rejects old moral structures and values, it finds that its moral GPS has no fixed and stationary points of reference.”

Archbishop Shevchuk said the Church must find “new courage” to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to contemporary society to provide “an anchor and compass”.

“We live in societies where virtue and goodness are frequently a veneer for religious intolerance, personal gratification and moral decay,” he said. “Secularism would like us to be closed in a little box of Sunday worship.”

The former Soviet Union used that approach to religion, he said.

“Separation of Church and state has become separation of faith values from society, yet our mission is to preach the word of God to all and to be a constant sign of God’s loving presence through social ministry,” he said. “Let us not be afraid of the totalitarianism of political correctness and speak the truth regardless of whom we might offend, whether it is on same-sex marriage or on the genocide of abortion.”

He recalled that, under Communism, the Church witnessed “in the catacombs” as well in in open defiance to the regime.

“So many martyrs and confessors have suffered for the faith in the last century. Let their example and witness be an inspiration for all of us,” Archbishop Shevchuk said.

Ukraine is experiencing social and economic challenges and has changed dramatically, even in the last five years, he said. The country seems “torn between old influences and new attempts to integrate with the broader European community”.

Contemporary Ukrainian society mistrusts government, politicians and civil institutions, but the Church, especially the Ukrainian Catholic Church, “holds great moral authority”.

“The majority of Ukrainian citizens do not identify with any of the existing churches, but have a hunger for God and are open to the missionary work of the Church,” he said. “In such circumstances the experience of new evangelization, which we are gradually acquiring, may become a precious treasure, which we would hope to share with the entire Catholic Church.”

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of her first bishop in Canada. Archbishop Shevchuk had presided at Synod of Bishops for the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg, and he thanked the Canadian Catholic bishops for their “fraternal spirit of cooperation”.

“My brother bishops here in Canada speak highly of this body and greatly appreciate the support and understanding our Church receives throughout Canada,” he said. “This is not the case in other parts of the world.”

“Today there are tens of thousands of migrant workers from Ukraine in several European countries,” he said. “That is why it is so important for us to share in your Canadian experience worldwide, testifying that the presence of the Eastern churches, with their traditions and structures, is not a threat but a richness of the Catholic community, which is unity in diversity.”

  • nytor

    “Let us not be afraid of the totalitarianism of political correctness and speak the truth regardless of whom we might offend, whether it is on same-sex marriage or on the genocide of abortion.”

    Hear, hear.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    FIRST AND FOREMOST THE CHURCHES (ESPECIALLY THE BIGGER ONES)  NEED URGENTLY TO HEAR GOD’S WORD FROM APOSTLES TO UNDERGO CONVERSION TO BE FIT FOR CHRIST THE LORD.

  • Rizzo the Bear

    For the love of all that is holy, Fr Poo, please take the caps lock OFF!

  • Rizzo the Bear

    The good bishop is so right about everything. He knows what he’s talking about because he speaks from cold, hard experience – not the spoilt-brat, smart ass claptrap from the wooly liberals!

    UK Roman Catholic bishops – AND archbishops – should take a masterclass from this man, and fellow brother bishop!

  • Parasum

     ““We live in societies where virtue and goodness are frequently a veneer
    for religious intolerance, personal gratification and moral decay,” he
    said.”

    ## Nothing new there then.

    He ought to have said “the appearances of virtue and goodness are…” – virtue and goodness are by definition, if virtuous and good at all, entirely virtuous and good; they can’t be a veneer for anything, as that implies they are not genuine. But if not genuine, they cannot be virtuous or good at all.

    ““The majority of Ukrainian citizens do not identify with any of the existing churches…””

    ## Why would a leper want to join a group where he can become even more leprous ? The Churches have nothing to contribute but more of the evils that already torment society – why would people distracted by those evils want a dose of them from the Churches ? The Churches are not the cure – they are part of the problem :(

  • Parasum

    Fr. Poovathinkal has problems with his sight – he has mentioned this once or twice. That’s why he types in ALL CAPS. I’m surprised he doesn’t magnify the text – Windows allows you to.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    We have to remember the Seven deadly Sins again. How many Catholics can even name them.

    GREED is one of them. LUST is another.

    Greed and lust aren’t only for food or sex. Money and power are the others and modern corporatist, globalist capitalism are driven by them both. So how could the result be good?

    But greed and lust are not the preserves of the corporations, but of everyone, including the benefit scroungers and the politicians who feed them.

  • Alexander VI

    If the Ukrainian Catholic Church “holds great moral authority” then why is the country a cesspit of corruption and xenophobia?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Because of 75 years of militant state atheism. Same thing in Russia, Belarus and all the other old Soviet Republics. 

    Having lived there for twelve years, I can comment from direct knowledge. 

    You?

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    PROPHETICAL INTERVENTION IS PART AND PARCEL OF THE LIFE OF ALL TRUE DAUGHTERS AND SONS OF GOD IN JESUS THE LORD.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    “Archbishop Shevchuk said the Church must find “new courage” to proclaim
    the truth of the Gospel to contemporary society to provide “an anchor
    and compass”.

    THE WAY IT HAS BEEN DONE SO LONG  FOR CENTURIES MAKES ONE REFLECT WHETHER IT WORKS IN FAVOUR OF CHRIST THE LORD  AND WHETHER IT IS IN TURN WITH WHAT HE PROVIDED FOR US THROUGH HIS INNER CIRCLE : THE TWELVE APOSTLES.

    IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH EVERY CHRISTIAN WAS AN APOSTLE; IN CONTINUITY WITH THE TWELVE APOSTLES, JESUS THE LORD KEPT ON PROMOTING TO APOSTLESHIP EVERY ONE WHO MADE HIMSELF (HERSELF) FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

    SEE FOR INSTANCE, THE SEVENTY TWO WERE SENT BY THE LORD TWO BY TWO TO PROCLAIM HIS WORD JUST LIKE THE TWELVE; OTHER EXAMPLES: GREAT ST. PAUL; MARY MOTHER OF THE LORD  WAS MADE THE QUEEN OF THE APOSTLES; MARY MAGDALENE, “APOSTLE TO THE APOSTLES”, IN THE WORDS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II. THE YOUNG MAN WHOM THE LORD CALLED TO FOLLOW HIM SIAD, “LET ME FIRST GO AND BURY MY FATHER. THE LORD TOLD HIM, “NO, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD, AS FOR YOU COME AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD”. THUS WE SEE ALL THOSE WHO MADE THEMSELVES AVAILABLE AND FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD WERE PROMOTED TO APOSTLESHIP.

    APOSTLESHIP IS THE KEY AND NOT REPEATING THE SAME OLD TRICKS OF THE TRADE WHICH BORE FRUIT FOR ANOTHER CHRIST.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    “The Churches are not the cure – they are part of the problem :(”

    THESE KIND OF PROBLEM-CHURCHES ARE THE ONES WHERE POWERFUL PEOPLE PLAY GOD TAKING THE NAME OF JESUS.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    He has problems with his theology and doctrine, that’s for sure. 

  • Charlesdolan

    Try pressing ‘Caps Lock’.