Don´t Just Talk About Christ, Pope Says

Exhortation to Ukrainian Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- It is not enough to talk about Christ -- the need is "to help people see him," John Paul II said today in a challenge to all the Christians of Ukraine.



This was the instruction the Holy Father gave today to 1,500 Ukrainian Greek-Catholic faithful who came to Rome to thank him for his pastoral visit to Kiev and Lviv in June.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, archbishop major of Lviv, led the Eastern-rite pilgrims.

The cardinal said during the meeting with the Pope said that the latter´s trip was an event "which has given hope again not only to the Ukrainian people, but to all the Slav world," opening "new possibilities to give witness to Christ in all the territory of the former Soviet Union."

John Paul II responded by challenging the "three venerable" rites (Latin Byzantine and Armenian) which coexist in Ukraine, not to engage in rivalries but to be committed to reciprocal love and respect for the plurality of their traditions, which are a "magnificent symphony of the Church of Christ."

After recalling the harsh years of the Communist regime, the Holy Father acknowledged that "today in your land one can speak freely of God. However, for contemporary man, immersed in noise and the confusion of daily life, words are no longer enough: Not only does he want to hear talk of Christ," but "in a certain sense he wants to see him."

The Pope said that this challenge should unite Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.

"Give Ukrainian people the possibility to see their Savior," the Pontiff exhorted. Do "not wait for someone to create the conditions favorable to commitment and pastoral work; inspire them yourselves with creativity and generosity."

He added: "Give witness with your life and works to the presence of the Risen One among you! It is the most eloquent and effective message that you can give to your fellow citizens."