Ukrainian Catholic archbishop joins call for 'new constitution' to ensure Ukraine's post-war future

June 30, 2023 at 1:37 a.m.
Ukrainian Catholic archbishop joins call for 'new constitution' to ensure Ukraine's post-war future
Ukrainian Catholic archbishop joins call for 'new constitution' to ensure Ukraine's post-war future

By Gina Christian • OSV News

LVIV, Ukraine – Ukraine must develop "a new social consensus" and "a new constitution" to ensure its post-war future, said Archbishop Borys Gudziak and several other endorsers of a June 28 document from Lviv's Ukrainian Catholic University.

"A New Birth for Ukraine: A Constitutionalist Manifesto" was signed by Archbishop Gudziak of Philadelphia – the university's president and the metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S. – and 13 others representing academia, law, business, human rights advocacy and the Ukrainian military. The roster included Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties, which was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

The five-page letter was released as Ukraine marked Constitution Day, which commemorates the 1996 adoption of its sovereign constitution, five years after its independence from the former Soviet Union.

Subtitled "Diversi in unitate" ("Diversity in unity"), the document urged Ukrainians to prepare themselves for the "daunting new challenges" they will face "when the victory (over Russia) is finally achieved."

"If we are not ready, we may find that the future will be dark, and victory will not be much better than defeat would have been," the authors warned.

The war is "a new birth for Ukraine" that has compelled its citizens to "reflect on what Ukraine stands for, on what our country demands of us. ... (It) is not being fought simply to control our territorial integrity; it is, instead, being fought for principles and values – ultimately, for civilization."

Wartime concentration of government power must ultimately give way to decentralization and greater participation of the population in the political process, said the letter.

"People will need to shift ... from wartime thinking to peacetime thinking," said the authors, who stressed the need for "a vision of the country that is focused on the good things that the future can offer."

New social divisions that will emerge during the post-war period must be proactively addressed, they noted. Ukraine's eastern and southern regions, which have sustained long periods of Russian occupation and propaganda, will require reintegration, as will returning veterans and others who have been traumatized and dislocated by Russia's aggression.
[[In-content Ad]]

"The challenge is ... to use the wartime unity as a springboard for developing a unifying vision, a springboard for a new social consensus," said the authors.

At the same time, "any unity that will endure must be inclusive: It must seek the common ground underlying our differences," they said. "Rather than trying to suppress those differences, it must celebrate them as different but equally legitimate ways of being Ukrainian."

The new social consensus must be embodied in a new constitution, providing "long-term protection" as daily life returns to normal following the war, they said.

Far from being "a technical, arcane document relevant only to legal professionals," a constitution "affects everything that happens in a country, and it is relevant to all of the problems facing ordinary people," the authors wrote. "We will get better government only when we change its structure."

Developing a new constitution for Ukraine will be the work of the nation as a whole, through public hearings, discussion groups, expert advice and a referendum, they said.

"Together, the new social consensus and the new constitution might be imagined to be the new social contract," the authors said. "No work could be more important for our future, and that work must begin now, with us."

Gina Christian is a national reporter for OSV News. Follow her on Twitter at @GinaJesseReina.


Related Stories

LVIV, Ukraine – Ukraine must develop "a new social consensus" and "a new constitution" to ensure its post-war future, said Archbishop Borys Gudziak and several other endorsers of a June 28 document from Lviv's Ukrainian Catholic University.

"A New Birth for Ukraine: A Constitutionalist Manifesto" was signed by Archbishop Gudziak of Philadelphia – the university's president and the metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S. – and 13 others representing academia, law, business, human rights advocacy and the Ukrainian military. The roster included Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties, which was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

The five-page letter was released as Ukraine marked Constitution Day, which commemorates the 1996 adoption of its sovereign constitution, five years after its independence from the former Soviet Union.

Subtitled "Diversi in unitate" ("Diversity in unity"), the document urged Ukrainians to prepare themselves for the "daunting new challenges" they will face "when the victory (over Russia) is finally achieved."

"If we are not ready, we may find that the future will be dark, and victory will not be much better than defeat would have been," the authors warned.

The war is "a new birth for Ukraine" that has compelled its citizens to "reflect on what Ukraine stands for, on what our country demands of us. ... (It) is not being fought simply to control our territorial integrity; it is, instead, being fought for principles and values – ultimately, for civilization."

Wartime concentration of government power must ultimately give way to decentralization and greater participation of the population in the political process, said the letter.

"People will need to shift ... from wartime thinking to peacetime thinking," said the authors, who stressed the need for "a vision of the country that is focused on the good things that the future can offer."

New social divisions that will emerge during the post-war period must be proactively addressed, they noted. Ukraine's eastern and southern regions, which have sustained long periods of Russian occupation and propaganda, will require reintegration, as will returning veterans and others who have been traumatized and dislocated by Russia's aggression.
[[In-content Ad]]

"The challenge is ... to use the wartime unity as a springboard for developing a unifying vision, a springboard for a new social consensus," said the authors.

At the same time, "any unity that will endure must be inclusive: It must seek the common ground underlying our differences," they said. "Rather than trying to suppress those differences, it must celebrate them as different but equally legitimate ways of being Ukrainian."

The new social consensus must be embodied in a new constitution, providing "long-term protection" as daily life returns to normal following the war, they said.

Far from being "a technical, arcane document relevant only to legal professionals," a constitution "affects everything that happens in a country, and it is relevant to all of the problems facing ordinary people," the authors wrote. "We will get better government only when we change its structure."

Developing a new constitution for Ukraine will be the work of the nation as a whole, through public hearings, discussion groups, expert advice and a referendum, they said.

"Together, the new social consensus and the new constitution might be imagined to be the new social contract," the authors said. "No work could be more important for our future, and that work must begin now, with us."

Gina Christian is a national reporter for OSV News. Follow her on Twitter at @GinaJesseReina.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Caritas Australia mobilizes efforts to aid landslide victims in Papua New Guinea
Caritas Australia mobilized relief efforts to aid victims of a horrific landslide...

Christ is the answer to young people's search for hope, Pope says
Young people around the world need to know that God loves...

Synod report for U.S. shows growth, tensions and 'deep desire to rebuild' the body of Christ
Growth, undeniable tensions and "a deep desire to rebuild and strengthen" ...

CRS official says agency has been unable to to get aid to southern Gaza Strip since May 6
As tensions and the number of victims mount in southern Gaza...

Pope tells children joy is good for the soul, always help others
To change the world, children must press ahead, be joyful...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.