When it tries to influence the electoral process, the church crosses the limits of its jurisdiction, stated the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Patriarch Lubomyr, in an interview to the newspaper Day. “We preach the Divine Law, and nowhere there is it said that we have to specify which person or political force to vote for. The church says, very clearly, that those who undertake the responsibility for the good of the state, the people, and social well-being should execute the Divine Law, behave in accordance to their vocations, to their tasks. The church says this, but it has no right to say who such people should be,” stated the head of the UGCC." />

Patriarch Lubomyr in an interview to Day newspaper: ‘It is not the church’s task to say whom to vote for’

Tuesday, 26 October 2010, 12:32
When it tries to influence the electoral process, the church crosses the limits of its jurisdiction, stated the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Patriarch Lubomyr, in an interview to the newspaper Day. “We preach the Divine Law, and nowhere there is it said that we have to specify which person or political force to vote for. The church says, very clearly, that those who undertake the responsibility for the good of the state, the people, and social well-being should execute the Divine Law, behave in accordance to their vocations, to their tasks. The church says this, but it has no right to say who such people should be,” stated the head of the UGCC.
When it tries to influence the electoral process, the church crosses the limits of its jurisdiction, stated the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Patriarch Lubomyr, in an interview to the newspaper Day. “We preach the Divine Law, and nowhere there is it said that we have to specify which person or political force to vote for. The church says, very clearly, that those who undertake the responsibility for the good of the state, the people, and social well-being should execute the Divine Law, behave in accordance to their vocations, to their tasks. The church says this, but it has no right to say who such people should be,” stated the head of the UGCC. In the opinion of Patriarch Lubomyr, the church has a completely different goal. The church should not tell people what to do: “The people should decide on their own on the basis of their own persuasions.” In response to the journalist’s question that considering the difficult political situation, is it not worth for the church to change some its principles and to be something greater than an ordinary church, the head of the UGCC stated that the situation when the church begins to dictate, to become a powerful authority is dangerous. “We have critical cases of theocratic communities, societies, where the religious leaders tell people how they should live, dress…And nobody would call these states exemplary,” underlined Patriarch Lubomyr, using Iran as an example where there is a “whole group of religious leaders who dictate how the state should look.”  The head of the UGCC added that “it is always dangerous when people begin to cross the border of their vocations.” “It is very dangerous when we begin to treat the clergy as an all-around factor in the community,” noted the patriarch, explaining the situation when a priest feels he has the charisma to be a political leader, and gave an example of distinguished church leaders: “Even such people as Sheptytsky and Slipyj, who were very respectable, real spiritual leaders, helped the state, tried to stand up for the nation...In the 20s Sheptytsky visited different political centers to help the people gain more freedom, more rights, a better way of life, but in no case did he try to become president or something like that.”  In response to the question whether the clergy should come into power at all, the head of the UGCC said the work of a priest and the deputy’s activity require complete devotion: “Honestly, I do not see how such a person could carry out both tasks.” At the same time, in the opinion of the primate, making a mistake as a politician, the pastor can lose the trust of his community as a spiritual leader: “He will no longer be perceived sincerely, but will be suspected in different impure affairs, guilty or not. Consequently, it creates an unhealthy and dangerous situation,” said the head of the UGCC. “Our church looks at it in the way: If a priest has already decided to go into politics, he should go to his bishop and say, ‘During the time I am politically active, I will not work as a priest.’ This, however, leads to another question: What did this priest do to educate deserving candidates for government from the numerous laity, which he himself wants to embrace?” said Patriarch Lubomyr.

Information Department of the UGCC

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