Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Soviet-era Church laws still in place

"The old ways of thinking are returning," declared vice-rector for Foreign Relations at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv Dr Bohdan Prakh, who warned that the Ukraine was in danger of relapsing into an era considered long gone.

Dr Prakh, during a visit of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), said the Government was showing a one-sided bias in favour of the Moscow Patriarchate, and thus damaging not only the balance between the faiths but relations with the Churches as a whole.

He said the Soviet-era Church laws were still on the books in the Ukraine.

"No one is afraid of compulsory actions as in the past, but the mood can also change," the Greek Catholic priest said.

He added that the Church was prepared if it should come to that.

Dr Prakh said that, even now it can be observed, that for example the authorities were extremely slow to process applications of the Greek Catholic Church relating to construction projects.

After the Second World War and the Com-munist assumption of power, the Greek Catholic Church was forced to merge with the Orthodox Church. Church property was confiscated.

People of faith, priests and bishops were persecuted, and many went underground.

The Greek Catholic Church was not recognised again until the political opening of 1989.

Dr Prakh said the great majority of the population would like to see Ukraine move toward closer ties with the European Union.

"The people simply want to become Europeans, and be able to live like all other peoples in Europe," he said.