Ukraine, Hungary, Belarus

Ukraine: Cardinal Lubomyr remembers Kaczynski”We remember them in a special way because they are our neighbors and our friends”- said the primate of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church cardinal Lubomyr Husar, during a suffrage Mass for the victims of the tragic plane crash of April 10 that caused the death of 96 at the airport of Smolenk in Russia, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski. “In the history of our nations – admitted Cardinal Lubomyr – there have been moments during which our mutual behaviors were unjust. It did happen. We do not wish to deny it nor underestimate it”. The primate thus recalled his first meeting with Kaczynski “on the day for the reconciliation of Ukrainian and Polish bishops, attended by thousands of faithful”. “I met him on other two occasions – added the archbishop of Lviv -, when in his capacities as representative of the Polish nation, our president Viktor Yuschenko and the Polish and Ukrainian bishops told one another: ‘We forgive you and plead for your forgiveness”. According to Lubomyr, on every occasion Kaczynski “clearly expressed his strong desire for honest and sincere neighborhood relations between our two nations”. This, he concluded, “is very important also for our Churches and it’s the reason why today we render thanks to God for the existence of people like such as them”.Hungary: a website to speak of the “good priests” A website to say “enough” to the defamation of priests was presented a few days ago in Hungary by renowned Franciscan friar Csaba Böjte. With the support of a large group of volunteers Fr. Böjte assists thousands of orphan and abandoned street children in Romania. Böjte announced the initiative with an open letter addressed to all those who in their life have had contacts with the church and with the priests. “Wake up those of you who were once members of Catechism groups or who studied in institutions run by Church members! You know many good priests and religious, righteous men with holy lives, then why do you remain silent?” Asked the Franciscan friar, in the belief that “while it is indeed necessary to speak of the 1% of priests who ruthlessly tainted children who had faith in them, we must also speak of the others, of those pastors who devoted themselves to us with infinite goodness and love” and who have been for “true role models to us”. Or else, Böjte warns, “Strangers will continue seeing the dirt and generalize in the belief that ecclesial institutions are the dwellings of sin. Our knowledge of the truth prompts us to clarity”. Positive experiences with priests and religious can be posted on the website ilyenazenpapom.com launched ten days ago. Dozens of testimonies are already available in English (www.thisismypriest.com). On the webpage visitors are asked to “symbolically light a candle and pray for a servant of God who silently fulfils his vocation in the vineyard of the Lord”.Belarus: the president’s wishes to the Pope”Your dedicated and restless commitment is directed at reaffirming Christian values across society, to combat poverty and social injustice and establish peace in the world. The Republic of Belarus fully supports your service”. Belarus President Aliaksandr Lukashenko, conveyed a message of good wishes to Benedict XVI for the fifth anniversary of his pontificate. Lukashenko conveyed his appreciation of “the good level of relations” between Belarus and the Holy See and of the Vatican’s support to his Country’s aspiration to “broaden the contacts with the European Union”. On April 18 the President of Belarus gathered in prayer for the victims of the plane crash in Smolensk in the Catholic archcathedral of the Belssed Virgin Mary in Minsk, where he was received by cardinal Kazimierz Swiantak, apostolic administrator of the diocese of Pinsk and former archbishop in the diocese of Minsk-Mahilyow, and by the auxiliary bishop Antoni Diamjanka. The news was issued by the agency Catholic.by. Accordingly, Lukashenko “gathered in recollection before the altar”, where a photograph of Lech Kaczynski had been placed near a cross with lit candles “and paid homage to the memory of all those perished in the plane crash”.

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