Belarusian priest thinks violence is justified


Eastern Europe


Father Barok is reflecting upon the use of violence against the state. Photo still from Youtube

In the present situation in Belarus, true Christian love is not looking passively at what is going on. True love is taking power from people who are committing lawlessness today.

That is said by the Roman Catholic priest Father Vyacheslav Barok. He has left his country and is staying nowhere permanently. He says this in an interview with Svaboda.

Christian teaching does not exclude violent or armed protest, he says. Hatred and revenge are not good “because it will lead to nowhere.” Only love and care will bring a better future.

According to Father Barok, the social teaching of the Catholic Church “provides for violent protest and gives such a right when other methods are exhausted, when there comes a time when nothing else can really be used.”

It “is noticeable” when that time has come, Mr Barok says. It must be sure that the violence for the good will win.

Last July, Mr Barok left Belarus for Poland. But he has no place where he stays. “Here, being on a business trip, which is a little delayed, I systematically change my whereabouts.”

In Warsaw

Many people have fled Belarus because of the rule of President Lukashenko. The regime is not giving much space for real opposition to the executive powers. Many Belarusians are living in neighbouring countries, like Poland, Lithuania or Ukraine.

Although he is living nowhere permanently, he works for Belarusians in Poland. He is serving the parish of St. Alexander in Warsaw. About 400 people come to worship in the Belarusian language. Many worshipers flew from Belarus because they were “repressed, fired or expelled from the university, or went through detention, beatings or violence. Such people come to our parish primarily because they seek support and understanding, want to talk about their experiences, do not want to keep them in mind. The environment of the parish community helps people to express themselves.”

Father Barok sees three critical things: prayer, power and love. “The only question is how to connect them in the Belarusian context, when there is a huge gap between them, because law enforcement agencies kill civilians, torture them. And here, it is crucial to explain to us what content we put into these words.”

“The true love of Christians will be manifested in the fact that they, having responsibility for the future of the country and every Belarusian, will take power from the people who are committing lawlessness today. Personally, I attach to this universal prayer also the content that may God bless everyone in power to allow them to answer before an earthly court, an international tribunal. Why? Because then it will be easier for them to answer before the court of God.”



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