October 1, 2012

SAINTE-ADELE, QUEBEC – Western secularism is challenging Ukraine's post-Communist future and underlies the worldwide economic crisis, said the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

"The current economic crisis is merely the symptom of a much deeper spiritual and cultural crisis," Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk told the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual plenary 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."

Shevchuk said the Church must find "new courage" to proclaim the truth of the Gospel in 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.

The separation of Church and state has come to mean separating the values of faith from society, he said. Yet, the Church must be "a constant sign of God's loving presence."

"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."

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is "experiencing a period of resurrection," Shevchuk said.

Ukraine seems "torn between old influences and new attempts to integrate with the broader European community."

Contemporary Ukrainian society mistrusts government, politicians and civil institutions, but the Church, especially the Ukrainian Catholic Church "holds great moral authority."

"The majority of Ukrainian citizens do not identify with any of the existing churches, but have a hunger for God and are open to the missionary work of the Church," he said.