President Kuchma Meets With Roman Catholic Hierarchs

18.12.2002, 17:32
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Kyiv on 17 December 2002. They discussed the need to work together on the implementation of moral principles in Ukrainian society.

“It seems to me that cooperation between the state and religious organizations can be more productive for the spiritual renewal of our society and its civic and moral improvement,” stressed President Kuchma. “The state has always supported and will support any constructive initiatives of the church in the sphere of social life.” Kuchma also emphasized that, despite many problems with the restitution of property to religious organizations, efforts are being made at the national and regional levels to implement a presidential decree issued on 21 March 2002. The decree was called “On Urgent Measures for Combating the Negative Consequences of Totalitarian Policies of the Former Soviet Union regarding Religion and Restoration of the Violated Rights of Churches and Religious Organizations.” “I believe there is great potential for church-state cooperation, even though it is not now used to its fullest extent,” said the president. “First of all, I mean the spiritual and moral atmosphere in society and the problems of its unity. The church’s authority today gives it great responsibility for the consolidation of Ukrainian society.” In addition, Kuchma mentioned his meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican this year and recalled the papal visit to Ukraine in the spring of 2001. In response, Cardinal Marian Jaworski, head of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Ukraine, thanked the president for his personal concern for the current problems of the church in Ukraine, particularly of the restitution of church buildings to religious organizations. “We will continue to make our contribution to the lives of the Ukrainian people, as well as towards the achievement of peace between all religions of Ukraine,” stressed Cardinal Jaworski. Representatives of the RCC also informed Kuchma about the problems their church faces in Ukraine and how it solves social problems, in particular establishing social centers, orphanages, and so on. Source: