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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Ukraine’s war forms young Christian leaders, archbishop says

The horror of the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine is shaping the moral compass of a generation of young Ukrainians and preparing them to be heroic Christian leaders, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

“Frequently, a young person that has suffered, that has gazed into the eyes of death on the field of battle or who has braved bombs to save the life of civilians, learning to preserve life in extreme conditions, understands the value of human life better than an arrogant priest or kleptocratic politician,” Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk told the Synod of Bishops.

Confronted by Russian “military aggression,” young Ukrainians especially “are dying for our country,” thus becoming the “principal protagonists of the transformation of our society,” the archbishop told the synod, which is discussing “young people, the faith and vocational discernment.”

The Ukrainian Catholic Church, headed by Archbishop Shevchuk, survived almost total destruction by the Soviet Union in the 20th century and has since risen to an increasingly prominent role in national life and politics.

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Picture: Young Ukrainian Marine recruits are seen on the obstacle course during their training in late May at a shooting range near Mariupol. The horror of the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine is shaping the moral compass of a generation of young Ukrainians and preparing them to be heroic Christian leaders, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. (CNS photo/Sergey Vaganov, Reuters).