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Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is quite young and very willing to speak directly and frankly, as this recent CNS piece indicates:

Western secularism underlies the worldwide economic crisis and challenges the future of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church told Canada's bishops.

"The current economic crisis is merely the symptom of a much deeper spiritual and cultural crisis," Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk told the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Sept. 25. "As Western society rejects old moral structures and values, it finds that its moral GPS has no fixed and stationary points of reference."

Archbishop Shevchuk said the church must find "new courage" to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to contemporary society to provide "an anchor and compass."

"We live in societies where virtue and goodness are frequently a veneer for religious intolerance, personal gratification and moral decay," he said. "Secularism would like us to be closed in a little box of Sunday worship."

The former Soviet Union used that approach to religion, he said. 

"Separation of church and state has become separation of faith values from society, yet our mission is to preach the word of God to all and to be a constant sign of God's loving presence through social ministry," he said. "Let us not be afraid of the totalitarianism of political correctness and speak the truth regardless of whom we might offend, whether it is on same-sex marriage or on the genocide of abortion."

He recalled that, under communism, the church witnessed "in the catacombs" as well in in open defiance to the regime.

"So many martyrs and confessors have suffered for the faith in the last century. Let their example and witness be an inspiration for all of us," Archbishop Shevchuk said.

Read the entire piece. For more about Abp. Shevchuk, who is just 42 years old, see this previous CNS piece, from March 2011.

And for more about the Ukrainian Catholic Church, see my March 2011 post, "The History and Liturgy of the Ukrainian Church". A good introduction to Eastern Christianity is the August 2012 essay, "Both Lungs", by Christopher Warner.

 
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Carl E. Olson editor@catholicworldreport.com

Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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