The Ukrainian Struggle: Freedom with Dignity Over Corruption and Power

priests & Ukrainian Riot Police

In 1998 my family returned to the U.S. from our first home leave overseas, for what eventually ended up being twelve years living and working in Ukraine—including experiencing first-hand Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. News reports in recent days have rekindled memories of our Ukrainian experiences. My own personal recollections lead me to believe that what Ukraine is experiencing now is not, as some outsiders might think, merely a new chapter in an old Cold War struggle between East and West. The protestors are fighting for more than freedom for freedom’s sake, but a freedom with dignity that has been out of reach for far too long.

Let me illustrate with a family anecdote: One evening over dinner at our eighth-floor Kiev apartment, located not far from the parliament building, our oldest son—a wise lad of eight years—matter-of-factly asserted, “You know what? There are a lot more Mercedes in Ukraine than there are Fords in America.” At least regarding Kiev, he was correct.

This in a country—larger than France and located in the middle of Europe—whose average monthly wage, at that time, was easily equivalent to what an American teenager might typically spend on a summer road trip. Yet, whose post-Soviet property snatching oligarchs commanded political power and wealth that would make Bill Gates blush. And that power increased as they made deals with each other and with Western firms.

Power was to be jealously protected … apparently at all costs.

Almost sixteen years later from the comfort of our living room in Ohio, I watched protestors savagely beaten, with daily accounts of torture by crucifixion, mouths sewn up with shoe-maker’s thread, kidnappings, and officially sanctioned government snipers shooting for the head and heart.

These events in Ukraine are reminiscent of developments in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Animal Farm. Recall the pups raised by Napoleon, the Stalinist pig, to be his secret police, just as recently dismissed President Yanukovych used riot police against peaceful protestors. Similarly, clever-speaking Moses the raven, who represents the Patriarch of Moscow in the novel, is a role imitated by the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine: supporting the corrupt regime, church officials promised stability and wealth in association with the Sugar Candy Mountain of the north.

Orwell, however, had not foreseen the Ukrainian storks—the bringers of life and of Spring. Perhaps because he was as pessimistic as ole Benjamin the mule, Orwell did not foresee leaders arising from salt-of-the-earth folk. Indeed, one of those is my son’s godfather—praying for and struggling with protestors on the Maidan (Independence Square): Bishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek (Eastern Rite) Catholic Church.

Bishop Gudziak has been on the Maidan with Ukrainians of all faiths since the popular uprising started last November. His message is one of peace and dignity and courage—not about grabbing political power. He has consistently supported the European aspirations of Ukrainians, encouraging Ukraine’s citizens not merely to “seek” what Europe offers economically (Matthew 19:24 precludes this), but for Ukraine to offer its own rich traditions and wisdom to help revitalize a “tired Europe,” as the good bishop says. Indeed, to help heal Western Europe of its profoundly violent anti-life (abortion) and anti-family (homosexual “marriage”) policies as well as the crass individualism and consumerism that threaten, as George Weigel recently put it, “the moral foundations necessary to sustain a free polity and a free economy … ordered to the common good,” Bishop Gudziak sees the Maidan as an opportunity for Ukrainians to give even more of themselves—to contribute to the European project, a project which, by many accounts, has lost its Christian rudder.

Unfortunately, Bishop Gudziak’s message is all but ignored or missed by Western talking heads. In a recent interview on Real News, for example, the anchors focused on sensational sound-bites that, well, “make news”: potential civil war, bloodshed, East vs. West, Russia vs. the U.S., etc. In contrast, Bishop Gudziak stressed that the Maidan was not primarily a political uprising but, first and foremost, a spiritual struggle for the dignity of the common man.

Assuming no overt actions on the part of Putin, Ukraine will resolve its own problems. However, the Russian representative to negotiations, in contrast to his European Union counterparts, did not endorse the political peace accord between President Yanukovych and the protestors signed on Friday. Russian covert actions aimed at undermining the fragile peace must be expected since without Ukraine, Russia cannot aspire to be an empire.

After all, power is to be jealously protected–apparently at all costs.

In perhaps what may turn out to be one of those epic twists of historical irony, Western talking heads will be shocked when Ukraine emerges unified with no real ethnic divisions between Russians and Ukrainians: they will have missed the boat in the same way Western analysts missed the collapse of the USSR. George Bush the elder perhaps best exemplified this myopia in his infamous Chicken Kiev speech before the Ukrainian SSR Parliament in 1991 when he labeled the aspirations of Ukrainians—themselves long-term victims of Russian nationalism—“blood-thirsty nationalism.”

Dignity is not something political scientists can easily quantify or characterize, so in most cases they are blind to the deeper sentiments driving events in Ukraine. Stephen Cohen displays his ignorance of local realities when he misrepresents Ukraine as “two countries”—playing into Putin’s aspiration to grab parts of it if cajoling Ukraine into the Eurasian Economic Union fails.

The struggle for dignity is the primary engine that drives Ukrainians—not East vs. West or other considerations of geopolitical power-dynamics. Ukrainians will be the first to encourage their moribund brothers and sisters in Russia and Belarus to struggle for their freedom; while hard to obtain, freedom is a goal worthy of human dignity. But, not in the devolved sense understood by Western Europeans, that is, freedom for its own sake. Rather, freedom must be ordered to charity and justice.

I speak from experience: four of our seven children were born in Ukraine. During our twelve years there, we witnessed the degradation of dignity on every level. Even small children learned that a small bribe from their parents helped grease the wheels in kindergarten. Westerners who are so preoccupied with the trivialities of life have little to no idea what that means.

One final anecdote: I was working in Ukraine as a gopher for a Western news organization during the initial student hunger-strikes prior to the collapse of the USSR. We would film all day, and then seek out a restaurant at night. What we saw was as close to the final scene of Animal Farm as one could get: the women of power were so into their fine foods and cosmetics and the men were so into their fine foods and women (while the students starved in the streets), that they actually resembled the corrupt autocrats the Communist revolutionaries overthrew over a half century before. Orwell described the transformation of the pig commissars into their former human oppressors through the eyes of the long-suffering animal proletariat: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Animal+Farm

Alexander R. Sich

By

Alexander R. Sich is Professor of Physics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, with twelve years of professional experience in nuclear safety and non-proliferation abroad, primarily in Ukraine. He earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering from MIT and a Master's in Soviet Studies from Harvard University and a second Master's in philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

  • Florian

    Feb. 24th, I fear that if the protesters get taken in and absorbed by the EU, they would not be able to transform the EU but would be corrupted by the EU which is very powerful. After Poland was freed from Communism, Pope John Paul lamented that they were taking on Western habits and losing their deep spiritual values. That has been balanced a bit but the lure of money and fashion and even power, often corrupts so we need to offer support and many, many prayers that the strong values of the protesters are not weakened and lost.

    • Pam H

      Inclined to agree.

  • Watosh

    At 83 I find my short term memory is very poor, but I can’t help remembering how after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait we were told by someone who witnessed Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of the incubators they were in, onto the floor. It later was discovered the eyewitness was a Kuwaiti diplomat’s daughter living in Washington, D. C. who was the source of these stories.

    Then too, while the rulers of Ukraine were corrupt and high handed, I recall reading about how the Russian revolution in which the Tsar was overthrown was greeted with thundering applause by most Russians only to discover the horrors under the communists who eventually took over the government. I say this not to defend the Tsarist government, but simply a word of caution.

    Then too, I wonder how the American government would react if people attacked government buildings in Washington, built barricades to prevent traffic from flowing and threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at the police. I know what happened to some Americans in the very peaceful “occupy” protests.

    I have to respect the statements by the Ukrainian Catholic Church in supporting the turning to the European Union and away from the imperfect Russian government, but I have noticed the godless European Union insists on its members legalizing homosexual marriage and abortion. And I have noticed countries like Greece and Portugal and Spain have deteriorated economically while enjoying the benefits of belonging to the European Union. So pardon my skepticism at not getting on this bandwagon.

    • Art Deco

      I know what happened to some Americans in the very peaceful “occupy” protests.

      Peaceful, and very unhygienic.

      • Watosh

        That is the way the fawning corporate media portrayed them. I saw one camp which certainly was a mess since they were surprised by a middle of the night raid and forced to flee precipitously in the night and as a result their area was shown badly. Of course throwing trash around does seem to be the American way. I lived in an apartment complex that was considered one of the best here in raleigh and every morning there were soda cans, partially eaten takeouts from a number of fast food restaurants around, and frequently chicken wing bones were discovered in the parking lot as i walked my dog in the early morning. Not that I support mob movements, mobs being too easily influenced by clever people, the classic example is how the Jewish citizens were encouraged to vote for Barabbas by their leaders. Of course the bankers in Wall Street are unquestionably more “hygienic” than those in the protest movement, and undoubtedly some would find that more appealing.

        • Art Deco

          Of course throwing trash around does seem to be the American way.

          It isn’t, but never mind.

        • Pam H

          At my office, the Americans recycle, but many of the foreigners deliberately throw their garbage in the (very clearly marked) recycling bins.

          • Watosh

            I guess only foreigners then drove down a local highway since the ditches were filled with trash. In the luxury apartment that I lived in some recycle bins had clearly posted very prominent signs, “Do not put plastic bags in these bins, and they were filled with plastic bags every time I went by. More foreigners I suppose. In the early 1960’s I was visiting Frankfurt Germany and went to the zoo. A little toddler had an ice cream cone, but it was a hot day and the ice cream fell onto the cinder path. The little girl calmly walked over to a nearby post where a scoop was available, walked over, scooped up the cone off the path and deposited the cone in the trash. What amazed me was that her parents had not told her to do that. She did that on her own! Further I spent my early childhood in the Iron range in Michigan, in which the mines attracted a lot of foreigners: Finns, Swedes, Polish people, Italians, Serbians and some Welshmen who brought over the wonderful pasty pies, yet our neighborhood was scrupulously clean of litter. The community looked down on that. Of course it was during the depression and there were no fast food establishments dotting the area. Also in those days children will still taught the meaning of “No,” which apparently has gone out of style. I guess today foreigners quick to embrace liberty.

            • Art Deco

              I regularly come across an empty soda can or a beer bottle on someones lawn near the street. Litter is an epidemic today.

              It seems like an epidemic, because that’s what you’re looking for.

              • Watosh

                You have a point my friend, I will shield my eyes from now on and the litter will no longer be on the ground. Very simple solution, funny I never realized that was the problem.

      • TheAbaum

        Based on the number of sexual assaults that occured, not so peaceful

        I used to walk by one of their “encampments” every day.. It was a four year old’s dream. Activities scrawled on cardstock posters and a steady supply of sugary treats (they especially favored grocery store donuts, especially powdered kreullers and glazed.

        After they left, the concrete was discolored and I was afraid to ponder why.

        I think that they are back safely in their parent’s basements getting paid to troll by OFA and Soros groups. Some show up here as PHO-Catholics. Pseudo-Hyper-Orthodox (conveniently, a homophone for “faux”), peddling envy as a charity.

        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-24/conspiracy-theory-true-agents-infiltrate-websites-intending-manipulate-deceive-and-d

        • redfish

          I don’t think its fair to reduce the Occupy people to one homogeneous group. I also walked by an Occupy encampment where I live. A lot of college students who weren’t professional activists did show up, although I think they ended up staying for a short period and didn’t camp out there. The ones who camped out tended to be the activists, though it was made up of a lot of groups, libertarians and Ron Paul types in addition to liberals. There were also the SEIU trucks…

          The thing that kind of made me sad is that one day I visited, it was raining, and there were a lot of homeless people around elsewhere in the city, and no effort was made by the Occupy camp to give them shelter.

          • TheAbaum

            I don’t think its fair to reduce the Occupy people to one homogeneous group.

            I don’t really think that they were homogeneous, or that all the grievances were disordered. At the core they reminded me of the X-Files Fox Mulder character’s friends -holed up, eccentric and fearful of a myriad of things they don’t understand and lacking maturity.

          • musicacre

            There are humorous stories also; take the one from a Canadian city, out East. A homeless man was found in the only tent that was “occupied” 3 am by an investigative journalist (with a camera), from W. Canada, and he (the homeless man) was guzzling beers that had been given to him as a freebie so he would look after the empty lit tents ’til the “occupiers” came back the next morning after a refreshing sleep in their parents’ basements.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    The Ukraine is not in any position to “revitalize/re-christianize” Europe. It – especially its youth – will be sucked in. The already exodus of Ukrainians, especially unattached women for postitution, into Holland, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., does not bode well. And what about the horrible demographic decline of the Ukrainian population? The birth rate is falling beneath replacement rate. How is marching into the E.U. as moral crusaders going to change that – when the great gift of Europe is not freedom (not even with dignity) but the choice to snip one’s person, and one’s culture, from any moral moorings?

    Also, that we, as Catholics, must go all out “tribal” just because the Byzantine Catholics are much involved – I just don’t see. Doing the Irish Catholic tribal thing” hasn’t saved Ireland.

    Thanks for the insight of your experience of living those years in Ukraine, but, like the previous commentator, I am not on this bandwagon.

    • Art Deco

      I would not pay any attention to David Goldman. He’s something of a con man.

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        And how does the man con? Since cons are not done in a vacuum, what does he con about? What is it about his character or “origins” which facilitate his skill at stinging a con? Is it because his judgments within his speciality, economic and demographic prognosis, has been so prescient? Or maybe, it is because he is a great respecter of Pope Benedict’s admonition for the restoration of Christian foundations of the West without heeding the call to convert to Catholicism, himself?

        Mr. Goldman’s prophecys, whatever their fallibility, are what need to be heeded to.

        Personally, he has my gratitude. For much. Still remember the essay of his which modified my enthusiasm for von Balthazar and encouraged me to refresh my vision towards Aquinas. It was an intellectual rebirth.

        • Art Deco

          He used to have a regular column at First Things (one of the odd things J. Bottum did during his turn at the wheel there, hiring a business columnist) wherein he would trade in contrived disaster scenarios for effect. He couldn’t have believed what he was saying and much of it was readily debunked with available online statistics.

          Some people just wish to perform.

    • Allan Daniel

      Nicely thought out.

  • John

    Poor Ukrainians – what a choice! Putin versus the most corrupt organisation on earth, the EU!

    • vito

      And yet if you were from Eastern Europe, you’d understand, that the EU, imperfect as it is, is still a huge leap forward towards civilization for post-Soviet countries – economically, politically, culturally and otherwise. Also, ‘unfair’ as it may be, there is no ‘other’ choice, no ‘third way’ possible for those unlucky countries who happened to be Russia’s neighbours squezed between Russia and the West. One must chose between the two. For now, at least.

  • tamsin

    Fascinating look inside Ukraine, thanks. We have been so sheltered from corruption in this country; perhaps not much longer. It’s difficult to say how our faith might help or hinder corruption, as evidenced by the EU corruption map that has been making the rounds…

    • TheAbaum

      We have been so sheltered from corruption in this country; perhaps not much longer.

      What?

      • Pam H

        Comparatively so. Yes, there’s plenty. But it doesn’t hold a candle to many other places, where there is not even a whiff of honesty.

  • Ita Scripta Est

    The womyn replacing Yanakovch is a corrupt kleptomaniac. She is just America’s corrupt kleptomaniac so its all good.

    • Art Deco

      It’s been fashionable among palaeoheadcases for about 10 years now to act as press agents for the Russophile party in the Ukraine. Kinda silly.

      • Ita Scripta Est

        I am not a paleo-con.

        • TheAbaum

          No, just a PHO-Catholic.

    • HA

      I do not know why Tymoshenko would be considered America’s kleptocrat. Was she even mentioned in the wiretapped Nuland conversation as the kind of leader the State Department would pay good money to put back into office? While it’s true that most everyone within and without Ukraine, American observers included, understand that she was subjected to a show trial simply to get her out of Yanukovich’s way, I think most also understand that in a just Ukraine she would be in prison anyway.

  • Allan Daniel

    The revolutionaries are not morally superior to the existing government. It is a power grab. The revolution is not poetic musings about “freedom with dignity”, It is violence in the street motivated by power and money. It is absurd to believe that the desire to become part of the EU (the most morally deranged segment of countries in the developed world) is a thrust for justice and morality. What does the EU have to offer? Moral perversion, greed, dishonestly and godlessness. Countries sanctioning such evil is a place to flee not run to. This at a time when Russia is showing a slow realization of moral light while the EU plunges even more deeply into immorality. The desire for entrance into the EU is morally a bad choice.

    • ForChristAlone

      How have you come to know what is in the hearts of those who have risked their lives for freedom sake on the streets of Kiev? They have a right to exercise their freedom to choose what form of government to have.

      • Allan Daniel

        Christ has not given them the right to destroy their leaders. Christ demands that they obey their leaders in everything but sin. What is the freedom they seek? Entrance into a demonstrably evil, godless EU. How can you call yourself ForChristAlone and reject the teachings of Christ? There is no moral right to revolution. The deaths on both sides have been prompted by the action of the revolutionaries. There is no freedom but in Christ.

        • ForChristAlone

          You’re off base.

          • Allan Daniel

            You would sound more convincing if you could illustrate the times Christ condoned the use of violence–or anything else to support your position. I offer that none exist, that freedom is a produce of holiness, not riots. The revolutionaries in the streets are envious thugs seeking the transfer of power without possessing moral superiority. They and their country would be far better off if they put down their stones and clubs and took up their rosary.

            • Evagrius

              Allan, let’s begin by holding you to the same standard by which you hold others. Where is your evidence that the Maidan protests are motivated exclusively, or even primarily, by ‘power and money’? You’ve cast aspersions on the Catholic prelates of Ukraine, now it is time to substantiate your calumny or withdraw it.

              • Allan Daniel

                I suspect every man with a stone wrapped up in his fist has a slightly different take on events. It hardly matters. The protests have precipitated violence and death. If you are going to assume goodwill on the part of the revolutionaries (the word protesters is not accurate), there must be some evidence to scrutinize to test their purity. I like the birthrate test to feel out the moral health of a society. I believe the Ukrainian birth rate is at 1.4 or some silly low number. Does that look like a warm, family-oriented flow of Christian holiness that the protesters can’t wait to impart into their new society? Not much. Sounds more like a morally broken people who are mindlessly rushing to an even more morally broken EU. There is a legitimate government in power. That government has the sanction of God per Scriptures. There are problems, but there always are when people lean on politics apart from God. The legal government has the moral right of way. There is no evidence that the revolutionists would be in any way more moral or more just. They must withdraw and cease their disorder.

            • TheAbaum

              You would sound more convincing if you could illustrate the times Christ enjoined absolute fealty to “leaders”.

              • Allan Daniel

                Matthew 22:21
                They said, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,and to God the things that are God’s.”

                Hebrews 13:17
                Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

                Romans 13:1
                Let every person be subject to the governing
                authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

                Romans 13:2
                Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

                Romans 13:3
                For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval.

                Titus 3:1
                Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

                Romans 13:1-5
                Let every person be subject to the governing
                authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
                Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out
                God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

                • TheAbaum

                  1.) Everything isn’t Ceaser’s.

                  2.) Those authorities were civil authorities?

                  Nice try, statist troll, now bow down before your real god, the state.

                  • Allan Daniel

                    Do you even understand what is being discussed? Perhaps your TV is making too much background noise for thinking.

                  • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

                    Exactly. Stateidolaters.

              • Pam H

                Not the same thing. Revolution is not the sole alternative to absolute fealty.

                • TheAbaum

                  Let him answer for himself.

        • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

          “Christ demands that they obey their leaders in everything but sin.”

          That might be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I think we need a new term now: OrwellianCatholic

          • Allan Daniel

            Perhaps you haven’t read your own stuff.

            • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

              I don’t mean to be rude by using the term stupid but you really need to think about the implications of that statement. We are now being ruled by psychopathic Satanic bankers with the visible leaders such as Obama acting like puppets. Do you really think we owe them obedience in everything but sin? revolt is more like it.

              • Allan Daniel

                I agree with everything you said. We are in apocalyptic times. I think a good portion of what precipitated our fall was false notions of freedom. For some freedom has become the basis for evaluating good and evil, apart from the Law of God. So we have now acceptance of evil as good and good as evil: abortion, homosexuality, gender transference. If we continue to use the methods of the world we can never rebut there things because we haven’t the tools, the tools of faith in God and his ways.

                In Romans we read “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is
                no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted
                by God.”
                Evil leaders are a result our infidelity to God. In relation to the revolution in the Ukraine, war is not the answer but a symptom of the moral decline of the people. We don’t fix that by war. In these apocalyptic times God requires we seek his solution. Mary at Fatima told us what our weapons were to be, the Rosary. Prayer and mortification. Sounds a little pie-in-the-sky, but man’s methods have not worked. I don’t in any way condone bad leaders, but I accept God’s Remedy, which frankly does not always appeal to me.

                • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

                  Exactly. We can’t obey our leaders when they command us to engage in or support aggressive wars based upon false-flag terrorist acts, and when they demand we accept a police-state based upon a terrorist threat that they themselves have manufactured wherein our human dignity and freedom as sons and daughters of God is violated. Civil disobedience and resistance to this is not “War,” and need not be violent. St Paul would be the first to resist such evils at the hands of our so-called leaders, who are really tyrants. No one deserves tyranny.

                  • Guest

                    “We can’t obey our leaders when they command us to engage in or support aggressive wars”

                    But you will obey the same folks when they instruct you that Ukraine must be “liberated”? You realize you are taking up the arguments of the very people you are deriding?

                    “Civil disobedience and resistance to this is not “War,” and need not be violent.”
                    I guess you missed the footage of the masked gunmen a.k.a. “protestors” on TV. Those fellows were demonstrating some “robust” civil disobedience that might otherwise qualify as violent terrorism.

                    • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

                      I am referring to and critiquing your general interpretation of scripture and authority, not the Ukraine situation.

                    • Guest

                      I am not the previous commenter and I wasn’t making any references to scripture whatsoever. I was in fact reading your thread of comments above which seemingly is very critical of the administration, makes reference to neoconservatives, the banking intersection with government, and so forth….does it not? And I was subsequently pointing out the irony of your derisive, seemingly libertarian views of the government and yet your ardent support for the official government view of what is happening in Ukraine. Perhaps you believe the government is evil and wrong on just about everything, but they seem to somehow have it right on Ukraine. Frankly, you’ve confused me.

    • Evagrius

      Well done cutting and pasting the FSB/Moscow Patriarchate’s talking points into your post. As the ‘revolutionaries’ include Ukrainian Greek Catholic Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Bishop Gudziak, who are both on the ground, have been in Maidan, speak the language, personally know the personalities on both sides, and belong to a Church that has endured centuries of persecution at the hands of various Russian regimes, including, most recently, 45 years of underground existence, with the entire hierarchy being guests of the GULag, is it possible that they actually have a firmer grasp of the moral strengths and weakness of the competing factions than you?

      • Allan Daniel

        That Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Bishop Gudziak have involved themselves in politics is suggestive of their flawed understanding of the unfolding events and of Christian action. It is not even clear what they want to happen. This is the stuff of fairy tales and of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (feel free to insert your favorite country). These good men appear to have lost the forest for the trees. Is it not possible that they think too introspectively? In our apocalyptic times we are assured nothing through politics–never have been. I am morally certain that Our Lord is at a better vantage point than even Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Bishop Gudziak and that he has revealed a dislike for street riots and the transference of power from one sect to another for the mere shifting of wealth

  • http://suscipesanctepater.blogspot.com/ Matthew Roth

    “In contrast, Bishop Gudziak stressed that the Maidan was not primarily a political uprising but, first and foremost, a spiritual struggle for the dignity of the common man.”
    Hence the use of ikons. It is to point us towards Heaven, for which Man was made. We walk upright so that we might look towards it and not the earth. We have reason so that by God’s grace we might choose to cooperate and so that we might love.

    On the political side, Europe today is facing the results of centuries of issues…World War I/II and the Cold War were just its most recent expressions.

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  • ForChristAlone

    1. “In contrast, Bishop Gudziak stressed that the Maidan was not primarily a political uprising but, first and foremost, a spiritual struggle for the dignity of the common man.” The pundits of the West, do not admit of spiritual things. They know of no immortal soul created by God. They know not of God. That is why everything in America these days is filtered through the sieve of the political; it’s all that remains.

    #2 “George Bush the elder perhaps best exemplified this myopia in his infamous Chicken Kiev speech before the Ukrainian SSR Parliament in 1991 when he labeled the aspirations of Ukrainians…“blood-thirsty nationalism.” Let’s remember (and this from a Republican) that George Bush Sr is one of the US’s top oligarchs himself who thinks of himself as a member of the so-called privileged elite in our own country.

    #3 “During our twelve years there, we witnessed the degradation of dignity on every level. Even small children learned that a small bribe from their parents helped grease the wheels in kindergarten. Westerners who are so preoccupied with the trivialities of life have little to no idea what that means” Yesterday, I was doing some banking assisted by a 23 year old man who came here from Russia at age 15 speaking no English. I could not detect even a hint of an accent. His native background is that of an an Uzbecki (?sp). I asked him what he liked best about America and he told me that if he worked hard and educated himself, he knew he could get ahead here and the government would minimally interfere (he still has a lot to learn). He contrasted this with Uzbekistan where,in order to succeed, everyone expected a bribe. This article rightfully points out how degrading this is to the human spirit since it reduces man to simply a tool to be used for others’ benefit and not a person to be loved for their own sake. For that to happen, you must know God.

    • Allan Daniel

      “Dignity of the common man” pretty much means nothing–or everything. Dignity the pro-homosexual group believes it to mean the right to perform unnatural sexual acts; for Planned Parenthood it is the right to kill your offspring, etc. The phrase sounds way too much like slogans from the French Revolution. We know how well that went for Christ and his church.

      Where was Bishop Gudziak when his flock stopped going to mass, began laughing at the confessional, began using contraceptives like pagans, aborting like monsters, drinking like fish? Where was his moral compass and leadership then?
      His people have become morally corrupted and a revolution won’t help, and he is not helping by supporting one.

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  • daisy

    Wait a minute. You people were all screaming “Go protestors,” a few days ago. Why are you complaining now that they’re probably going EU? That’s what this was all about.

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  • bonaventure

    Ukraine = Egypt

    Yanukovych = Mubarak

    Ukrainian Protesters = Tahiri Square Protesters

    Ukrainian Opposition (supported by EU and Obama) = Moslem Brotherhood (supported by EU and Obama)

    Obama tried to socially engineer Egypt, but he lost. SO now he is trying to socially engineer the Ukraine. We are yet to see the results. In Egypt, the people got quickly tired of Obama’s Moslem Brotherhood administration. I wonder how long before the Ukrainian realize that they are giving up their freedom and allowing the extreme left wing to decided their country’s fate?

  • Art Deco

    I’ve never figured out whether that professor at Wyoming Catholic College and the fellow who writes this bizarre black helicopter stuff are the same person.

  • Guest

    How did the comments section devolve into a discussion on the hygiene of the Occupy protestors?? Who cares? Can we at least address some of the outright fabrications in Dr. Sich’s piece? He says he saw crucifixions and mouths sewn shut! Seriously? They must be showing different TV in Ohio than I get. This essay is so over the top it makes the mainstream media coverage look respectable in their government-sponsored daily rants against Russia. That is what is truly Orwellian, if Dr. Sich would care to observe real parallels to another Orwell novel. And if Dr. Sich were truly watching the TV he would have seen masked and armed “protestors” (otherwise known as terrorists) shooting at police and setting central Kiev ablaze. I’ve been communicating with local Ukrainian friends who are on the phone with relatives in Kiev who corroborate what I just wrote. This is a truly remarkable piece to be featured on an otherwise responsible site such as this.

  • arbeee

    The writer starts by decrying the site of a greater number of mercedes in Kiev than the number of fords found in America. This within the economic state of Ukraine where which is not one of discernable public wealth.
    As a socialist I would also be agitated by this state of affairs but it strike me odd that within the illegitimate coup regime in Kiev a number of oligarchs have been appointed to high government positions. It may be that their finacial well being was instrumental in the success of the coup and wealth may be influential in advancing government interests.
    I decry what has happened in Ukraine resulting from western political and financial interference in overthrowing a unpopular but never-the-less democratically elected government that could be removed in a general election one year away. What a tragedy!

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