Polish, Ukrainian church leaders call for dialogue

The Polish-Ukrainian crisis is politically based; it is not a crisis between the churches, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and the Warsaw Metropolitan Bishop, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, have declared.

The two religious hierarchs took part in the presentation of a book-interview in Warsaw on Thursday entitled "Dialogue heals wounds," which was conducted with Archbishop Shevchuk. Former Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski also participated.

Archbishop Shevchuk declared that the current dispute between Poland and Ukraine was political in nature. "It is not a crisis between the churches. Frankly speaking, we in Ukraine don't really understand it," he stated.

He suggested that the cause of the dispute, which concerns diverse interpretations of common history, may be "political populism, which appeals to the lowest instincts and has the aim of winning elections." "On the other hand, there is a real tendency towards extreme nationalism, which is fuelled and paid for from the centre of one large country because that is a way to break up the European continent from within. Fuelling anger and radicalism on the one hand, and populism on the other, cause a crisis between people and states," he asserted.

The Ukrainian archbishop went on to say that the role of the church is to build relations on the principle of "Christian morality." "Churches should be catalysts of dialogue," he declared.