The “brutal” crackdown on demonstrators in Ukraine is acting as a recruiting sergeant for the protest movement, according to a senior bishop, who described the country as engaged “in a battle for dignity”.
Bishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of Paris defended protestors on the streets coming under fire from government forces, but repeated calls of that they do not take up arms.
In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity which for decades has supported the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Bishop Gudziak spoke out against the security response to the demonstrations, describing many protestors as prayerful and non-violent.
Speaking from Paris Jan. 24, the bishop said: “The people are out not out on the streets to campaign for a party or candidate; they are gathering around principles.
He added: “The country in somewhat traumatic ways is trying to break the bonds of the past and the bonds of fear and subjugation by declaring the God-given dignity of every human being.”
“The events in the last few months and days is a pilgrimage in our battle for dignity.
“In the last two months, Ukraine has changed dramatically. The level of social consciousness has increased.
“The brutality of the special forces is rallying more and more of the population in an active role in this bid for dignity.”
Bishop Gudziak, formerly rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, reasserted the calls made by religious leaders on 10thDecember.
These include a request to the Ukrainian government to listen to the protestors’ demands, a denunciation of violence either by the regime or by protestors, and an appeal for dialogue between the regime and the various groups involved in the demonstrations.
Highlighting the need for dialogue, Bishop Gudziak said: “Dialogue is a very difficult and has a very arduous methodology but there are no better alternatives.”
This article has been published courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need