Ukranian Catholic Bishop sees “grass roots revolution” underway

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) yesterday about the current situation in Ukraine, Mgr Stanislaw Szyrokoradiuk, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, said that “people are awake now, they do not want a prolongation of the old state of affairs.”

He explained that the change in government and the political system in 1991 after the break p of the Soviet Union “was a ‘revolution from above, a changing of the colours of the flag’ but the social and political order in Ukraine remained as before, with ‘old clans’ exercising total power and with rampant corruption.”

“Now,” he continued, “after the grass roots revolution, the people demand that the elections scheduled for Dec. 26 be fair and free, paving the way to a new civil society based on genuine democratic values.”

Mgr Szyrokoradiuk said that Church – state relations “are not as bad as in communist times. Yet, nonetheless, there has been no restitution of Church property during the last 10 years… the administration has often made promises (before elections), but never kept them thereafter.”

“Under a new democratic government,” he says, “the chances of this issue being properly resolved can only increase.”

There are about 250,000 Roman Catholics and 128 parishes in diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr. They are served by 108 priests and there are 36 seminarians.

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