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The extraordinary achievements of Blessed Pope John Paul II show that such a thing as historical inevitability does not exist. The situation does not have to be as it is, the curve of history can be bent toward a more humane way. This view was expressed by the best-selling author of biographies of the pope, world famous philosopher George Weigel during the International Symposium at UCU “The Church in the Twentieth Century: The Challenges of Ministry in a Globalized World.”

As part of the symposium the UCU publishing house presented a translation of Weigel’s new book “The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II - The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy,” which was a continuation and complement of the best seller “Witness to Hope.”

According to the philosopher, the Western world went through a deep anthropological crisis: “This crisis the pope considered to be basis and foundation of all the horrors of the twentieth century. The revolution of conscience, which he started, overthrew the largest tyranny in the world. This Karol Wojtyla achieved by talking not about politics, economics, philosophy, but about human truth.”

According to George Weigel, Western civilization has reached the point where it draws from its last spiritual and cultural resources: “What we call ‘Western civilization’ emerged from the fruitful interaction of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, that is, from biblical religion, Greek rationalism, and human rights. In the nineteenth century, the high Western culture rejected Jerusalem. It seems that the next will be Athens.”

 Accordingly, if to discard the Judeo-Christian understanding that God gave man fundamental reason, then reason begins to doubt its ability to know the truth. “In the best case there is yours and my truth, but no absolute truth, which will lead to a decline in the rule of law.”

Therefore, the philosopher outlines a new task for the church: to again establish connections and connect Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome in a new cultural synthesis that will give humanity a new understanding of freedom.

 “The Ukrainian Catholic University has global significance: what is being built here will affect the entire global culture and the Catholic Church. I am grateful to my colleagues for translating my work into Ukrainian. I hope that it will help you build a free and virtuous society here in Ukraine,” he said.

Other speakers at the International Symposium were Bishop Borys Gudziak, rector of UCU and the Bishop of the Paris Eparchy; Myroslav Marynovych, human rights activist, journalist, religious studies expert, vice rector of university mission; Viktor Yelenskyi, Catholic University professor, president of the Ukrainian Association of Religious Freedom; Oleh Turiy, UCU vice rector for research, Chair of Church History Department.


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God's Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Rom. 3:3). Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence.

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ