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Canadian ambassador: Ukrainian government is targeting Catholics for persecution

Catholic World News - January 29, 2014

Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom told reporters that the government of Viktor Yanukovych is targeting the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for persecution.

The Globe and Mail reported that Ambassador Andrew P. W. Bennett compared the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to a “canary in a coal mine” and that persecution of other churches may ensue as well.

“The churches in Ukraine have tremendous respect among the people and their legitimacy has been enhanced through all of this,” said Bennett, “so to have a law that restricts the role of the churches and actually violates their religious freedoms and their ability to pursue legitimate pastoral outreach to the people is completely unacceptable.”

“Canada strongly condemns the deplorable use of violence against protesters by Ukrainian authorities,” continued Bennett, according to a Canadian government press release. “Canada strongly supports the Ukrainian people, who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine.”

“Canada notes the important and crucial role played by the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and many other religious leaders during the past weeks in encouraging dialogue between all parties and praying for peace in Ukraine,” he added. “Canada will consider all options going forward to make clear that we stand with those who seek to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future for Ukrainians.”

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