Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 20, 2006
Ukraine must restore moral virtue, says Husar
- WCR photo by Glen Argan
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar presides over the consecration of the wine during the Feb. 11 installation liturgy in Winnipeg.
By WCR Staff
After 75 years of communism, life is getting better in Ukraine. But it still has a long way to go, says the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
"Our major problem today is a lack of practising moral virtues," Cardinal Lubomyr Husar told reporters Feb. 10. "This problem will not be solved in this generation, maybe not even in the next one."
"The majority of grown up people have been trained in the time of the Soviet Union and under a very strong program of communist indoctrination," said Husar. "One of the major duties of the Church is to help people practise moral virtue . . . in all aspects of life."
Husar's own background may have made him the right man in the right spot to at least begin the process of moral reeducation he believes is so necessary to his country's future.
Born in Ukraine in 1933, his family fled to Austria during the Second World War and eventually made their way to the United States.
He was ordained for the Ukrainian Eparchy of Stamford, Conn., in 1958 and served in various parishes and academic posts before moving to Italy. There, he eventually became a Studite monk. In 1977 he was ordained a bishop and a year later became abbot for all Ukrainian Studite monks outside Ukraine.
In 1994 after the fall of communism, he returned to Ukraine to launch a new Studite monastery. He quickly moved up through hierarchy and in 2001, following the death of Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky, he was elected head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Husar said things are improving in Ukraine and it starts with education.
People who have studied in the West are now helping to develop a normal scholarly and educational system, he said. A Ukrainian Catholic university has been started in Ukraine.
And as for the seminaries, "they are not any worse than in stable countries in the West."
Although admitting there may be moral decline in the West as well, Husar said it is for "different reasons" than in Ukraine. "The population here has not been affected by communism in this sense."
Members of Catholic and Orthodox churches in North America are likely better at practising moral virtue than members of those churches in Ukraine, he said. But they can also learn from Ukraine as to how important moral virtue is to the functioning of a good society.