Nov 24, 2004 / 22:00 pm
In an interview this morning with the international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Fr. Borys Gudziak, the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, warned that “in Ukraine, religious freedom is under threat.“
Even though there is no Soviet-era style violent persecution, “the disregard for civil liberties and human rights on the part the current regime as well as the extreme poverty of the population, resulting from corruption and mismanagement of the old power clans” make it impossible for families “to lead a normal Christian life,” said the university’s rector.
The dramatic poverty and unemployment rates have forced around 5 million Ukrainians to go abroad in search of work. Mothers and fathers often have to leave their families behind in order to support them with earnings from abroad.
Fr. Gudziak has pointed out that despair experienced by so many Ukrainians has led to rampant alcoholism which has brought down life expectancy to 55, one of the lowest rates in Europe.