Pope recalls Stalin's famine in the Ukraine

 Pope John Paul II wrote a message yesterday to Ukrainian Cardinals Lubomyr Husar, archbishop of Lvov of the Ukrainians, and Marian Jaworsky, archbishop of Lvov of the Latins, for the 70th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33, instigated by Joseph Stalin in the Ukraine. The Soviet regime took control of all agricultural production and foodstuffs in order to impose forced collectivization in the country. This method lead to the genocide of entire areas. Although the regime hid information, it is now known that millions of people died during the famine. With his message, written in Ukrainian, the Pope said he wanted "to spiritually join everyone in the Ukraine in recalling the victims of this tragedy and inviting young people to remember past events so that similar suffering is never repeated again. "The memory of the past acquires a value that transcends the borders of a nation, reaching other peoples who have been victims of events that are equally devastating and, therefore, are comforted by sharing their experience. The scheduled celebrations do not go against other nations, but intend rather to instill in everyone's soul the sense of dignity of all people, regardless of which group one belongs to. The awareness of past aberrations results in a constant stimulus to build a future more suitable to man, in contrast to all ideology that profanes life and the just aspirations of man. "The experience of this tragedy must guide the sense and activity of the Ukrainian people today toward peace and cooperation. Unfortunately, communist ideology has contributed to furthering division in social and religious life. It is necessary to commit oneself to sincere and effective peace. The sentiment of Christian prayer for the souls of the dead must be accompanied by the desire to build up a society where the common good and the rights of the people are constant guides. "Reaching this noble goal depends, in the first place, on Ukrainians who are entrusted with safeguarding Western and Eastern Christian heritage and the responsibility to turn it into the synthesis of culture and civilization. In this task lies the specific contribution that Ukraine is called to offer in building the 'common European house' in which all peoples may be accepted with respect for the values of their own identity." Source: VIS