Viewing cable 05VATICAN382
Title: UKRAINE: VATICAN OPTIMISTIC, DEFENDS CARDINAL'S

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VATICAN3822005-02-04 14:17:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS  VATICAN 000382 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE: LEVIN; DRL/IRF: HEWETT; EUR/UMB: CARTER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KIRF PHUM PREL RS SOCI UP VT
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: VATICAN OPTIMISTIC, DEFENDS CARDINAL'S 
ACTIVISM 
 
REF: A. KIEV 325 
     ¶B. 04 VATICAN 1171 
 
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Summary 
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¶1.  (SBU) Holy See Country Director for Ukraine Monsignor 
Julio Murat defended Ukrainian (Greek Catholic) Cardinal 
Lubomyr Husar, insisting that he had "no choice" but to 
speak out against abuses during his country's recent 
election controversy.  According to Murat, Husar's public 
statements were not attempts to influence the balloting, 
but rather to address irregularities that threatened the 
freedom of the Ukrainian people.  Murat was optimistic about 
Ukraine's future and President Yushchenko, noting that he 
had seen "encouraging signs" from the new president.  Murat 
admitted that one could still "sense" the extent of Ukraine's 
East-West divide, but he was hopeful that it would not widen 
as a result of recent events.  All indications are that the 
Vatican will continue to keep the prospect of upgrading the 
Ukrainian Catholic jurisdiction into a Patriarchate on the 
back burner for the time being to avoid adding strains to 
the delicate religious balance.  End Summary. 
 
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Husar: No Choice but to Speak Out 
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¶2.  (SBU) Holy See Country Director for Ukraine Monsignor 
Julio Murat defended the conduct of Ukrainian (Greek 
Catholic) Cardinal Lubomyr Husar during his country's recent 
election controversy in a January 21 meeting.  "He had no 
choice but to speak out" against election abuses, Murat 
insisted.  According to Murat, Husar's public statements 
regarding the disputed vote were not attempts to influence 
the balloting, but were meant to address irregularities that 
threatened the freedom of the Ukrainian people.  Murat said 
that, as a religious leader, Husar had a duty to try to 
protect the human person and the right of the people to 
political freedom and freedom of speech.  Husar was also 
intent on trying to prevent violence, Murat added. 
 
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Encouraging Signs 
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¶3.  (SBU) Murat was optimistic about Ukraine's future and 
President Yushchenko's government.  Murat welcomed what he 
termed "encouraging signs" from Yushchenko, such as an 
attempt to make balanced public statements and the wise 
choice to make his first trip abroad to Russia.  He will do 
his best to "find the right balance" between East and West, 
Murat said.  (Note: Our meeting with Murat took place before 
news of Yushchenko's naming of Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime 
Minister (ref a).  End note.)  Murat said he thought Husar 
and other Catholic leaders should reach out to the new 
government discreetly and do what they could to help further 
the development of civil society.  Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, 
Papal Nuncio to Ukraine, expressed similar optimism in an 
interview with Radio Vatican broadcast January 24.  Jurkovic 
called the "honest election" a "great national victory" for 
Ukraine, adding that he hoped the country would be "reborn" 
with a "new dignity." 
 
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East-West Divide Not Insurmountable 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (SBU) When asked about the East-West divide within 
Ukraine, Murat was hopeful that it would not widen as a 
result of recent events.  "Certainly one senses (the divide) 
more at this time," he admitted, and pointed to the various 
economic and ethnic factors at play, in addition to the 
religious ones.  But Murat felt that progress by Yushchenko 
on issues of concern to both East and West would go far to 
overcome current divisions.  He noted helpful statements made 
by Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch Filaret of Kiev during the 
imbroglio, and implied that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church 
could play an important role as the country seeks to heal 
lingering wounds from the election. 
 
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Ukrainian Patriarchate Still Seems Unlikely in Near Term 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Unlike others we have spoken to about the 
often-discussed prospect of upgrading the Ukrainian Greek 
Catholic jurisdiction to the status of a Patriarchate, Murat 
downplayed the role political (rather than spiritual) 
 
 
sentiments may be playing in the motivation of proponents. 
"(Ukrainian Greek Catholics) simply want their church to 
experience a complete ecclesiastical identity," he insisted. 
The election controversy seems not to have changed the 
Vatican's thinking on the issue: it prefers to go slowly and 
not upset the delicate balance of ecumenical relations with 
the Russian Orthodox (ref b). 
 
¶6.  (SBU) Despite this orientation, the planned transfer of 
the seat of the Greek Catholic Church from Lviv to Kiev 
presents another potential challenge down the road.  Although 
Murat minimized the significance of the move, Vatican-based 
media have reported on Russian Orthodox sensitivities to 
perceived "expansion" by the Catholics.  We defer to Embassy 
Kiev on the ultimate significance of such a transfer, 
however, we suspect that a change in the ecclesiastical 
status of Kiev and Lviv would eventually lead to Kiev 
becoming a Patriarchal See. 
 
HARDT 
 
 
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 2005VATICA00382 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED