To restore a service of marriage and family’s priests called the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav during the Bishop’s Synod in Vatican on topic “Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Modern World”.
During the conversation with a Catholic Informative Agency the Head of the Church mentioned that “we do not need psychologists, sociologists but spiritual fathers to restore Christian spirituality and penetrate couples and families with it”. His Beatitude Sviatoslav appealed to Pope Francis and priests of the Synod with a request to pray for Ukraine. “Let Catholic Church show all over the world that we are not forsaken, that God, Pope and Church stay together with Ukrainian people, who are suffering now”, – added the Head of the Church.
An Archbishop reminded words of Pope Francis, said at the beginning of the Synod, meaning that priests had gathered at the Synod not to change the studying of Church about marriage and family. “We gathered for searching for better methods in order to help a family in the modern world, immediately, so that she could live according to Gospel and studying of the Church. We had been given such a task from Pope Francis and it settled down debates and doubts concerning farther run of the synodal conferences, significantly”, – said the Main Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia.
Speaking about a final second round of the debates about a theological interpretation of marriage and family, the Head of the Church admitted to being pleased with the results of these debates in groups – circuli minores.
“We are not supposed to revise Church doctrines about marriage and family once again, because it is impossible to be accomplished in a short time, besides we are not talking about it now”, – said he. Up to his mind, this doctrine was clearly displayed in studies of St. John Paul II and Blessed Paul VI.
According to the words of the Head of the UGCC, Church needs to recognize spirituality of the family in a modern world. “Challenges make the family weaker. We constantly become more fragile and unprotected creatures”, – thinks he. As far as he concerns, a modern family does not need from Church instruments of support, such as human ones, because all of it has been given to by psychologists, sociologists and other social sciences or state support programmes. “We are Church, a live flesh of the Christ and we live in a constant presence of a Holy Spirit, Who strengthen, heal the wounds and make us, weak people able to withstand amongst challenges of a modern world. Holy Spirit act not only in a moment of the matrimony: His grace bestows upon all marriage and family. We have to reveal the presence of God’s love and Holy Spirit in marriage and family anew”, – the Main Archbishop is convinced.
The Head of the Church indicated a need to restore a service of family’s priests. “Each family has to receive a help from the Church through her own priest, who will attend and heal the wounds of the family with a grace of a Holy Spirit; will denote a modern person how to pray, practice Christian asceticism, grow up spiritually, owing to listening to the Word of God amongst the challenges of a modern world”, – said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, adding: – So, when we are discussing practical references for the clergymen, we cannot forget about a spiritual experience. Spiritual fathers must be the administrators of God’s mercy, God’s strength that always remains with us and embraces us with its kindness of marriage and family”.
Speaking about a Holy Communion for divorced persons, who, otherwise, live in new civilian relationships and provide homosexualists with a pastoral care, the Head of the Church mentioned: “We are full of mercy toward these persons, but there are also some terms for obtaining the mercy of God: Christ has said: “Convert and proclaim the Gospel”. When person is injured with a sin, then Gospel of convert and faith is the necessary treatment. We cannot simply talk that you are on the right way, thus you can receive a Holy Communion. That should be treason against Jesus Christ. We have to live and establish the truth, be the font of God’s mercy. Encourage those people, who remain in such a situation, take an advantage of this grace, especially during a Holy Year of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis”.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav reminded, during the Soviet times of a Church’s persecution and waves of emigration, a Christian family supported and took care of Church. And now it is holy task of Church to support and take care of the family. He draw a parallel with a present state of the Ukrainian family and gave a few statistic data that affirm clearly the role of a Christian family in Ukraine. “According to the official data, we have in Ukraine 1,5 million of internally displaced persons. The amount of people who have been given help from abroad, church or state, are nearly 400 thousands. The question arises, who helps the others? The answer is: a Christian family!
Let us remind, families in Ukraine are living in horrible economic conditions today, still they express a great solidarity and share with everything they have. In past and present years Ukraine has been defended by the Ukrainian family, first of all orthodox and catholic one, inspired with a Holy Spirit”, – said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
During the Synod, the Head of the UGCC was speaking about a loneliness of a person, not only children, who were left by one of the parents but also left all societies and peoples in the lurch in the midst of war and tragedies. “No one remembers about us. Ukrainian people have found themselves in such a situation. We have a feeling of being an object of political, diplomatic, economic and, even ecumenical bargaining”. Many people in Ukraine ask: “Has God Left us?” It is an important question. Being on a cross, Christ was crying: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” This cry of Christ is a cry of a forsaken person. Saint Augustine, having commented on these words of Christ, said that He gave a voice of a whole mankind. In Ukraine, Middle West and in any corner of the world, where war and conflicts are occurring, person feels oneself lonely and neglected”, – told His Beatitude Sviatoslav and added: Church cannot only teach about loyalty in marriage but it has to testify its loyalty to God, Who will never forsake His people but stay with them all the time, especially during their sufferings”.
The Main Archbishop appealed to Pope Francis with a request to pray for Ukraine and asked all priests of the Synod to join this common prayer, too. “Let Catholic Church show all over the world that we are not forsaken, that God, Pope and Church stay together with Ukrainian people, who are suffering now”, – stressed the head of the Church.
Returning to Ukraine from the Synod, the Head of the UGCC wishes to tell his faithful that Church is loyal to the Christian family, supports her and is a font of its hope. “With every second day of synodal conferences, this hope, owing to a Holy Spirit springing up”, – added the Main Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia.
In a delegation of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church together with its Head took part bishop Hlib (Lonchyna) and Borys (Gudzyak).
The UGCC Department of Information according to Catholic Informative Agency