Three Hungarian Franciscans have opened a mission in the Soviet Ukraine according to Franciscan officials in Rome. Permission was obtained for the religious house by Hungarian Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, who went to the Ukranian capital of Kiev and suggested the idea to state officials, a Franciscan spokesman said.
The friars of the St John Capistrano province in Ilungary are living in Vinogradov, an area that once belonged to Hungary and which still has a Catholic community of Hungarian culture. Cardinal Paskai, a Franciscan, is also a member of the St John Capistrano province.
The Franciscans plan to live together and serve the faithful in nine towns nearby, the spokesman said.
In an October press conference in Washington, Cardinal Paskai, archbishop of Esztergom, noted that the
missionaries in the Ukraine were the exception to the rule for Hungary, which is suffering from a lack of vocations after year of religious repression.
Latin-rite religious are permitted to work in the Ukraine. However, Vatican officials have been working for legalisation of the Ukranian Catholic Church, which was forcibly merged with the Russian Orthodox Church in 1946.
'BECAUSE he . is expanding human rights and introducing democratic reforms, Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev cannot be called "a despot of any type," said Ukranian Cardinal Myroslav
Lubachivsky. "We are witnessing that the USSR, is progressing toward some type of democracy, but it remains to be seen if this democracy is real or false," said Cardinal Lubachivsky, the Rome-based head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.