Atheists May Hear a Special Word From the Pope

Cardinal Husar Sees Hope in Visit

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KIEV, Ukraine, JUNE 22, 2001 ( John Paul II´s visit to Ukraine might be memorable not only for what he tells the country´s Christians, but for what he says to nonbelievers, a cardinal says.

“The Pope will give hope to our people,” Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Cardinal Lubomyr Husar told ZENIT. “What the Pope will say to Ukrainian nonbelievers is more important than what he will say to us.” Atheists comprise 40% of the country.

Regarding the debate sparked by the papal visit, the cardinal said that the “obstacles to the Pope´s visit placed by the Orthodox obedient to Moscow are excuses. Patriarch Alexy II is in the hands of nationalist, extremist and fanatical Orthodox groups.”

“Suffice it to see how Alexy II was harshly attacked when he admitted to the Jews, while in the United States, that the Orthodox Church must ask them for forgiveness,” the cardinal said.

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