The struggle against corruption and for democracy in Ukraine has become the Church’s struggle for dignity, “The Church’s role is quite significant in this whole call for a truer justice through peaceful means,” said Fr. David Nazar in a Jan. 26 e-mail to The Register. Bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers have been in the middle of protests in the main square of the Ukrainian capital. Ukrainians have been protesting against President Viktor Yanukovych since November, when the president shelved an agreement to deepen ties with the European Union and made clear his plans to forge tighter ties with Russia. The anti- government protests have been getting stronger and have recently been met with violence from Ukraine’s security forces. “The overall and enduring atmosphere on the square is peaceful non-violence,” reports Nazar. “There is no alcohol allowed. There is prayer every hour. There is no retaliation for the violence — and now five killings — by the special forces, except the stones to keep them at a distance. You really have to be impressed with the nature of this revolution.”honesty and peace, says a Canadian Jesuit in Ukraine.
Nazar is a former provincial superior of the English Canadian Jesuits who has been in Ukraine over the last decade helping the order there set up schools and a novitiate program to accommodate a flood of young men seeking to become priests in the Catholic Church’s largest male religious order. Nazar has written for a Jesuit publication in Italy that the protesting Ukrainians have chosen Western, democratic and Christian ideals.
“The Ukrainian people are European, even if the government is not,” wrote Nazar. “It is these very values, whose roots are Christian and which the West takes for granted, that represent the longing of the people and the healing of the country.” Nazar’s report to The Register from Kiev’s Independence Square comes just as Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president Paul-André Durocher has urged the prayers of all Canadian Catholics for peace and justice in Ukraine.
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