Bishops in joint WWII massacres declaration
I have learned that many people don't go to a webpage (like an article). So, here's the article:
Poland's Roman Catholic Church and Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church will sign a declaration of mutual forgiveness on the 70th anniversary of WWII massacres of Poles by Ukrainians.
Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of the Polish Episcopate, at a plenary meeting of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on Friday, Krakow. Photo: PAP/Jacek BednarczykThe landmark gesture will be carried out at the Warsaw headquarters of the Polish Episcopate on Friday, with Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of the Polish Episcopate, and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, leader of Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church, as the chief signatories.
Father Stefan Batruch, pastor of a Greek Catholic parish in the Polish city of Lublin told Polish Radio that "both sides apologise to each other," in the declaration, echoing the famed 1965 letter of reconciliation of Polish bishops to German bishops over World War II crimes, which carried the statement: "We forgive and ask for forgiveness.".
The document has been prepared to accompany the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia massacres, which took place in a Nazi-occupied region that had been divided between Poland and the Soviet Union prior to the Second World War.
From 1943 to 1945, it is estimated that between 30,000 and 60,000 ethnic Poles were killed in the Volhynia area.
Units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a guerilla force of Ukrainian nationalists, carried out the actions.
The purpose of the attacks was to cleanse the region of ethnic Poles (who had been a minority in the region), paving the way for the possible creation of a Ukrainian state after the Second World War.
Poles fought back, principally through units of the underground Home Army (AK), and it is estimated that about 2000-3000 Ukrainians were killed in Volhynia, and about 20,000 more when the fighting spread to other areas of south east Poland (1944-1947).
The declaration of mutual forgiveness follows a similar document signed by Polish and Russian bishops last year.
Father Batruch notes that in the Polish-Ukrainian declaration "there is a statement there that evil was done against Poles."
However, he said that it is too early to insist that Ukrainians describe the Volhynia massacres as "genocide," claiming that "more joint work needs to be carried out before this [word] can be uttered by Ukrainians."
In his opinion, "this certainly cannot be done by pushing the other side up against wall with the order: 'Recognise this now.'"
A draft resolution created by Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centre-right Civic Platform party avoided the word genocide. However, last week, the Senate passed a resolution describing the Volhynia massacres as "ethnic cleansing bearing the hallmarks of genocide." (nh)
--- In GaliciaPoland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, DANUTA WOJCIK <sandlily@...> wrote: