The Ukrainian Catholic Church has welcomed the victory of a billionaire chocolate tycoon in the country’s presidential election and praised the previous interim government for holding Ukraine together, reports The Catholic Herald.
'These elections reveal the maturity of Ukrainian society and show it’s willing and able to take responsibility for the homeland,' said Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, Secretary-General of the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops.
Ukrainians are ready to make decisions about their future 'freely and democratically, without interference from outside, and this is the fruit of the revolution… which happened earlier this year,' he said.
Petro Poroshenko, 48, claimed outright victory in Sunday’s presidential ballot after securing 56 percent of votes on a 60 percent turnout.
Bishops Dzyurakh said he believed the new head of state, a Christian, would be 'sympathetic to Catholics and open to all confessions' and able to 'organise a new life' for the country.
'Of course, he’s taking over the Ukrainian state at the most dramatic time in its 23 years of independence, when an undeclared war is being waged against us by Russia,' said Bishop Dzyurakh. 'But the Ukrainian nation has shown a great capacity for consolidation, and will be able to mobilise around the person it’s shown trust and confidence in.
'Unity will be Ukraine’s strength and guarantee the success of reforms which our state and society now urgently need,' he added.
Eastern Ukraine bishop: Catholics are too frightened to attend Mass (CNS/The Catholic Herald)