The primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church told the Canadian bishops' conference that growing secularism is to blame for the worldwide economic crisis.
“The current economic crisis is merely the symptom of a much deeper spiritual and cultural crisis,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said.
He made his remarks on Sept. 25 in Sainte-Adele, Quebec to the bishops of Canada at their 2012 Plenary Assembly.
Archbishop Shevchuk is Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Major Archbishop of Kiev-Galicia.
He visited Canada to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the country's first Ukrainian Catholic bishop, Bl. Nykyta Budka. Archbishop Shevchuk's Church held a synod of all its bishops earlier in September in the Manitoba province.
“So many martyrs and confessors have suffered for the faith in the last century. Let their example and witness be an inspiration for all of us,” he urged.
During his comments, he noted that “as Western society rejects old moral structures and values, it finds that its moral GPS has no fixed and stationary points of reference.”
In response to this situation, he said, Christians are called to proclaim the gospel to serve as the grounding for those stationary points of reference.
The Archbishop warned of secularism's tendency toward “religious intolerance, personal gratification and moral decay.”
“Secularism would like us to be closed in a little box of Sunday worship.”
He emphasized that the exercise of faith cannot be compartmentalized to Sunday worship. Secularism pushes for a “separation of faith values from society,” discouraging Christianity in the public forum.
“Let us not be afraid of the totalitarianism of political correctness and speak the truth regardless of whom we might offend, whether it is on same-sex marriage or on the genocide of abortion.”
He also spoke of the challenges facing his Church since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is “torn between old influences and new attempts to integrate with the broader European community.”
“Adapting the image given by the prophet Amos of fleeing from a lion only to encounter a bear,” he said, “we recognize that for our post-communist society intense secularization processes, which come from the West, are a more subtle real spiritual danger.”
The archbishop also touched on the role his Church plays in the larger Catholic Church.
“Fully embracing its identity of being “Orthodox in faith and Catholic in love” we are aware of our role in allowing the Catholic Church to breathe with both its lungs, East and West,” the archbishop said.
His Church coordinates with the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and it serves as “mediator between Eastern and Western Christianity.”
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a Byzantine rite Church in communion with the Pope. Many of its adherents are in Ukraine, or are members of the Ukrainian diaspora throughout the world.
While Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1991, the Church was persecuted by the state and largely moved underground.