Ternopil hosted a discussion on how to change Ukrainian society

Thursday, 05 April 2012, 18:34
The role of the Church in the process of the rebirth of society, manifestations of crisis, challenges to the spirituality and morality of life in Ukraine – all these became topics for discussion at a round table “A mature Christian facing current challenges.” The panel was held on April 3rd at the Josyf Slipyi Foundation in Ternopil. It was organized by the UGCC Commission on Laity and its goal was to propagate a discussion on the social teachings of the Church and discuss possible steps to improve the economic and political life in Ukraine.
The role of the Church in the process of the rebirth of society, manifestations of crisis, challenges to the spirituality and morality of life in Ukraine – all these became topics for discussion at a round table “A mature Christian facing current challenges.” The panel was held on April 3rd at the Josyf Slipyi Foundation in Ternopil.  It was organized by the UGCC Commission on Laity and its goal was to propagate a discussion on the social teachings of the Church and discuss possible steps to improve the economic and political life in Ukraine. The working group included Rev. Andriy Romankiv, Chancellor of the Ternopil-Zboriv Archeparchy, representatives of community and lay organizations, political parties, local authorities, journalists, seminarians and Serhiy Nadal, mayor of Ternopil. In his address the Ternopil mayor stated, “We are already used to talk shows and discussions on political topics.  At present, television has turned into a continuous political PR serial.  However, there we find neither discussions nor a search for answers.  In fact, there, questions are not even proposed that anticipate an in-depth discourse.  Perhaps society lacks discussion or open thoughtful conversation about spirituality, the meaning of life, national identity, the place of a person in the world and the place of Ukraine on the world map.  There exists a lack of conversation having spiritual parameters.” Rev. Oleksa Petriv, the director of UGCC Public Relations, in presenting the role of the Church in the social life of Ukraine, outlined basic directions of the activity of the All Ukrainian Church Council. A long-term prisoner of the Soviet gulag, Myroslav Marynovych, pro-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, presented a paper on “Influence on society and a personal moral transformation.”  He described the dimensions of a morally healthy society, the initiatives of the Churches of the Kyivan tradition in creating a movement for a moral cleansing of Ukrainian society.  “Today the moment has already arrived, when we feel that we must do something.  We are getting into such crises out of which finding an exit is complex. Mr. Marynovych condemned life oriented on the dictates of money and power.  “One cannot build a normal society if one lives according to wrong moral principles.  Let us confide ourselves to the thoughts espoused by the Church.  A person can accomplish very much but… it is necessary to link arms with cohorts and state: ‘We will live according to other rules!’  That means to sacrifice something.  In our lives we do not want to sacrifice – rather we would like someone else to make the sacrifice, and I will somehow make it to another country!  This will not happen!  We need a critical mass of people who begin to live according to different rules…  In a decaying immoral society we have to live in such a manner that it is obvious that we want to live in accordance with moral principles.  We want to be the alternative to what exists…” Yuriy Pidlisnyi, head of the UGCC Patriarchal Commission on Laity, talked about the need to educate Christians about the social teachings of the Church.  Mr. Pidlisnyi emphasized the responsibility of each lay person for all the spheres of social life in line with the social teachings of the Church.  He underlined that improvements in economy will not bring changes in moral and political areas; therefore, it becomes imperative to first change the consciousness, world outlook and mentality of the citizens.  

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