We feel obliged today to be active at the level of civil society in order to embody certain principles and values. The Church must educate the laity, who will be active in politics later.
This position was stated by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav in an interview to Ukrainian news site Censor.NET. It is reported by The UGCC Department of Information.
First Hierarch has noted that the Church is an integral part of civil society according to its social doctrine. “Here the Church, – he persuades, – not only can but it must be present. That is, we talk about the formation of a certain consciousness, a sense of responsibility for the state and the formation of responsibility sense for the value of the state in and of itself.”
According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, even in the recent events in Rome, they have tried to explain everyone that the Ukrainian state is the common good of the Ukrainian people, and the suffering of Ukraine is due to the fact that the aggressor wants to destroy this state.
“And this state – said the Head of the Church – is a common good not only for Ukrainians in Ukraine but also for all people, regardless of their religious views or national origin. That is why our Church has always supported the state. In those moments of history, when our people lived on their native land, but in foreign states, when Ukrainians were perceived second-class citizens, the Church was the social institution that protected these people and spoke on their behalf.”
At the same time, First Hierarch noted that the UGCC has never been a state church, that is, it has never become a part of the state mechanism. Especially, when it was about the existence of the Ukrainian people in foreign countries. It is the tradition of the UGCC. “But the Church does not interfere in the political process and cannot be the Church of any party. Our believers sometimes have different political preferences. We never support any political leaders. We encourage those who want to gain the trust of people to take responsibility for the implementation of certain principles. And these are the bounds which you ask about,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
He has said that the UGCC hierarchs are often asked why the Church does not create its own political party. “There were times in the history of Western democracies when the Catholic Church had its own parties – as Christian Democrats in Italy after World War II. However, we understand that today it is an absolute anachronism. On the other hand, the task of the Church is to educate both voters and politicians. Therefore, when representatives of different political parties come to pilgrimages, they feel accepted. But this does not mean that our Church will support this or that political force in the elections. Thank God, we already have our own state and the Church should no longer perform the functions of the state. Therefore, the Church should remain the Church and carry out an educational mission, showing high spiritual ideals,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.