Greek Catholic Synod Issues Pastoral Address On Upcoming Elections

04.02.2002, 10:28
From 3 to 4 January 2002, the Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Halych Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), convened and approved an address to believers and people of good will, dedicated to the parliamentary elections in March. The document was published on 21 January 2002.

The address of the Synod of the UGCC begins: “We stand on the threshold of elections to the Parliament of Ukraine and local administrations. Various opinion polls and surveys that have been carried out recently are indicative of people’s attitudes to the forthcoming elections. According to such surveys, the prevailing majority of Ukrainian citizens do not believe that election campaigns will be honest. Many people think these elections will turn into a fierce power struggle.” The synod emphasized that the church feels obliged to say its piece, since after decades of totalitarianism, Ukraine is only learning about democracy. The document stated that, “Our Christian duty is to help Ukraine get through this transitional period suffering minimal losses as well as speeding up the process of building a democracy. The objective of the church is neither to support certain people or specific parties, nor to nominate them. Its goal is to facilitate the creation of an atmosphere under which the elections would serve the purpose of our own good, and at the same time be honest and clear.”. The bishops of the UGCC identified certain areas of social life that in their opinion call for special attention: 1. The good reputation of and trust in the country should become major political priorities, since the steady development of the country is impossible without the two. 2. The value of human life and dignity from conception until death should be protected by law. 3. Regarding the spiritual and physical health of the nation, the government should undertake strong measures to prevent the large-scale abuse of alcohol and drugs. The health system should be reorganized in order to eliminate corruption and make health care accessible to all members of society. 4. In respect to ways of thinking, stereotypes from totalitarian ideology form an extremely weak foundation for the future. In building a new country, one should follow the principles of a democratic society. 5. The goal of the state: “What should Ukraine be like?” 6. Education should be based on Christian traditions. 7. As to culture, Ukrainian customs and traditions should be preserved and developed. 8. Concerning the Ukrainian language, it should be noted that in defiance of the law, the official state language is not yet properly protected. 9. Pertaining to church and state, this relationship demands appropriate regulation aimed at clear differentiation to facilitate creative cooperation and responsibility. The address also emphasized that understanding these issues should help Ukrainians to make the right choice. “A person is a citizen only when he goes to the polls. Not participating in elections means passing up a chance to influence developments going on in the country,” stated the address of the Synod of the UGCC. Source: Official website of the UGCC,