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‘Ukraine Catholics being driven underground,’ say Church leaders


CATHOLIC HERALD

Source:
Catholic Herald UK
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
12/18/2014

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ABSTRACTCatholicHerald.co.uk » ‘Ukraine Catholics being driven underground,’ say Church leaders Menu Home Latest News Comment Magazine Archive Subscriptions Jobs Advertising Subscribe Home Latest News Comment Magazine Archive Subscriptions Jobs Advertising Subscribe Latest News ‘Ukraine Catholics being driven underground,’ say Church leaders by Jonathan Luxmoore posted Friday, 19 Dec 2014 Women gather at a chapel in a camp set up for Ukrainian refugees in August (CNS) Warning comes 25 years after Catholicism was re-legalised in the country Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned that their Church is being driven underground again, a quarter of a century after it was re-legalised at the end of Communist rule. “In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we’ve already effectively returned to the catacombs,” said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the Church’s Kiev-based spokesman. “It’s a sad paradox that history is being repeated just as we commemorate our liberation. But after a couple of decades of freedom, we again look set to lose our freedom.” The priest spoke as Ukrainian Catholic communities in Russian-occupied Crimea approached a January 1 deadline for re-registering under Russian law. He said the Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church had no legal status in Russia and would therefore be unable, in practice, to register. Father Yatsiv said Russian and separatist forces had not officially refused to register Ukrainian Catholic parishes, but had ensured it was impossible because of the lack of legal provisions. He added that there was no effective government in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, where rebel groups did not recognise Ukrainian Catholics and were “imposing whatever rules and regulations they choose.” Earlier in December, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told Austria’s Kathpress news agency that Crimea’s five Ukrainian Catholic parishes would find themselves “outside the law,” along with the territory’s Latin Catholic, Muslim and breakaway Orthodox communities. “It’s ironic we’ve just been celebrating the 25th anniversary of our legalisation in the former Soviet Union — but our right to legal activity will soon be withdrawn in various parts of our country,” Archbishop Shevchuk told Kathpress on December 12. “There’s clearly no religious liberty already in Crimea and the occupied territories of the .......