Communique from the joint meeting of the bishops of the Greek-Catholic and the Roman-Catholic Church in Ukraine

Sunday, 16 November 2014, 13:43
Beloved in Christ Brothers and Sisters! From 10 to 13 November of this year Ukrainian Catholic bishops of two rites gathered at the annual recollections, which took place at the Higher metropolitan seminary of the Latin rite in Bryukhovychi near Lviv.

The time of recollections - first it is the choice of isolation, as  Jesus did, who left for a certain time His pupils and went to speak with the Father. Just like we do: every year through recollection studies, meditation, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament meet with God and filled with the Holy Trinity go back to the trusted to our care dioceses.

At the end of the recollections was held the bishoprics joint conference, where were discussed three important and relevant at this time in Ukraine and worldwide issues.

The first discussed topic was raging war in eastern Ukraine and the anniversary of the civil war protests, launched by students night manifestation  on 21, November, 2013, which was the resistance to actions of the then government. The following days and weeks brought the aggravation of the protest, as we all can attest, but the most evidence is the graves of the victims of Maidan.

In relation to the complex situation that has been going on for almost a year, as shepherds, we want to guide to the trusted to us people following appeal with imploring call for peace. Pope Francis, during one of the General Audiences said such words: "Today, Dear Brothers and Sisters, I want to express the cry that rises with growing anxiety from every corner of the earth, from every nation, from the heart of every person, from a great family, which mankind is, it is a call for peace! It is a strong call: we want to be people of peace, we want our society, torn with divisions and conflicts, to be full of peace, but not war! Peace is too precious gift - we need to share and protect it".

Following the voice of the Pope, we are speaking with a clear and intelligible call for peace. Call for peace is based on truth and justice, it follows from the depths of our hearts. How much suffering, how much destruction as well a lot of pain caused the use of weapons in our country. With a special emphasis we call - violence will never bring peace. The war calls war, violence calls violence! Of all the forces we ask the involved in the conflict to listen to the voice of your own conscience and not to shut in your own interests, but to see in the man who is close to you, your brother and boldly and resolutely choose the path to the meetings and negotiations, fighting the blind military battle.

 So once again we ask all of our faithful for unceasing prayer. Let our hands raise to God and asking for peace comes to the hearts of all people, to make everyone lay down their arms and allow the desire of peace to rule them.

Next theme of the reflection was the political situation, connected with the recent elections. As Christians and citizens of a certain territorial unit, we look at the current political situation in the light of the Gospel meeting of Jesus with the Pharisees and supporters of Herod, who tempted the Son of God saying, "Teacher, we know that you are open-hearted and do not pay attention to anybody, because you do not look at people's faces, just truthfully teach the way of God. Is it good to give tribute to Caesar, or not? To give or not to give? But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them: Why do you tempt me? Bring a denarius for me to see. They brought. And He said to them: Whose is this image and superscription? - Caesar's - they answered. Then Jesus said to them: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God - that is God's. And they wondered at Him". (Mk 12, 13-17)

We live in the world where two realities intersect - the faith and the civic responsibility. These two realities must have a common denominator, which is the truth and honesty. The believer should be guided in his life by these two virtues. The truth about God, who we believe in, forms in us the personality of the follower of the Savior. To be a Christian -means a living for this who you believe in and confess: to live according to the commandment of love of God, neighbor and enemy. This road leads to peace, trust and change. By doing so we retain responsibility for one another, which in turn will bring forth the responsibility for our country, which requires responsible, sincere and honest people. These virtues, which can be described with the word civil, should be our patriotism and have to express our love to our Homeland.

So let's remind to all those who the voters trust, not to only look at their own interests, but at the common good, which is to be built on what is called God's and necessary for the country. This approach will build a future worthy of Christian and civic life.

The last very important issue that we examined was recently completed in Rome Synod, dedicated to the family. In the final document the synodal fathers wrote: "We, synodal fathers, gathered in Rome around the Pope Francis at the special general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, appeal to all families on different continents, especially to those who follow Christ - the Way, the Truth and the Life. We express our surprise and gratitude for the daily testimony which you give us and the world through your loyalty, faith, hope and love. Also, we are the shepherds of the Church, were born in different families with different stories. As the bishops and priests, we live in the midst of the families who told us with the words and showed with deeds the brightness and the work in their lives".

We are conscious of great responsibility for the family, as a sacramental, indissoluble and fruitful union of husband and wife and appeal to God with the words of the synodal fathers: "Father, give to all the families the brave and wise men and women who would be the source of a free and united family. Father, let the parents have a home where they could live in peace with their family. Father, give children to be a sign of confidence and hope, and youth - stable and faithful to the ideals courage. Father, give everyone an opportunity to earn with their own hands the bread, evidence peace of mind and maintain a living flame of faith, even in the times of darkness. Father, let us all see the flowering of Your Kingdom, more faithful and truthful, just and humane city, the world which loves truth, justice and mercy".

Dear Brothers and Sisters! We strive such world, and  the families in it, where the respect is expressed by gratitude and responsibility for the great and remarkable vocation to marriage. For this world we prayed during the recollections and this world have been discussed at the Conference of the Episcopate. We also ask you with prayer and example of your own life in the family to build a home Church.

We heartily bless everyone.

Bishops of Greek-Catholic and the Roman-Catholic Church in Ukraine


Lviv, November 13, 2014


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