Priest Vyacheslav Barok: I am obliged to call evil by name
Ex Jesuit exposes evil role of Greek-Catholic Uniates in Ukraine
One of the most active priests in the media, the author of the popular YouTube channel, priest Vyacheslav Barok told the Voice of America about the position of the church in relation to what is happening in Belarus. Recently, he even recorded an appeal to the Pope of Rome, in which he asked the Pope to pay attention to the situation in Belarus..
Ksenia Turkova: You were recently summoned to the Investigative Committee. What have you been asked about?
Father Vyacheslav Barok: Yes, I was summoned as a witness and asked to explain why I need a YouTube channel, why I need social networks, what I want to convey to people. Accordingly, I was forced to clarify: I am a priest, I must preach the Word of God and look for people who can hear my sermon
I started a YouTube channel at the beginning of this year, and on other social networks I posted sermons before and spoke out on various topics..
Vyachaslav Barok on his YouYube channel
K.T .: But when the protests began, you wanted to speak even more actively and talk to people?
VB: Certainly. As a priest, I must shed light on the Word of God on the processes that are taking place in the world, and give a moral assessment of certain phenomena. And since, when the protests began, evil was too clearly manifested, I was simply obliged to talk about it and call evil by name.
My parishioners themselves ask me questions and ask me to explain this or that phenomenon from the point of view of faith, church.
K.T .: To what extent did the church become involved in this process when the mass protests began??
VB: I am glad that the church did not want to stand aside when the peaceful protests began. The church walks next to each person and supports him on his path, explains how to make choices in order to remain true to your conscience, in order to always choose good. And the Catholic Church, in particular, is now close to its flock and people. It makes me happy. Although this comes at a price. Our Metropolitan Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz spoke out on these topics, called for fair elections, called on people to be open to new life, new Belarus, new trends. And when the Metropolitan appealed for dialogue, they did not hear him – moreover, they did not let him into their country, to their homeland. This is a complete lack of rights.
In addition, the Prosecutor General’s Office issued warnings to those priests who spoke out in support of the protesters and against violence: Yuri Kosobutsky, the vicar general in Minsk, and Father Sergiy Lepin, an Orthodox priest. Both of them spoke out about the murder of Roman Bondarenko. They did not call for any political action, but only talked about not killing, and called for an investigation, for the truth, they said that memorials should not be destroyed. And they got warnings for this. But the church, nevertheless, remains faithful to the people and to God.
KT: You are talking mostly about the Catholic Church. The positions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches are somewhat different?
VB: When the protests just started, Christians – Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants – came out with a united front. It was very happy – no one wanted to stay away when
people were tortured when people were bullied. We all then called for an end to this violence. But after a while, the official Orthodox Church, represented by Metropolitan Benjamin, went into dialogue with the authorities. It’s not a bad thing that someone wants a dialogue. The bad news is that there is some understatement at the bottom of this dialogue. And the bad news is that church officials are calling for silence. In one of the dioceses, priests were forbidden to express their opinions. I have a question: how can this be compared with the social teaching of the Orthodox Church? In any case, the question of the internal split of the Orthodox Church can be raised again, when the highest hierarchs agree with the authorities, and the priests in the localities want to preach the Word of God and remain faithful to the Lord, the church and man – and in this case it is no longer possible to compromise and come to an agreement with the authorities..
KT: However, there is an opinion that the church should stay away from politics. You are often accused of being politicized?
VB: Yes, it happens. The church really should not interfere in political affairs, and I want to emphasize that I do not interfere in politics: I do not advertise political parties, I do not call for anyone to vote – I just preach the Word of God and the social teaching of the church. What kind of policy is it when people are killed, when there is falsification? These are not just politics – these are things that touch our conscience, which concern good and evil..
KT: If we imagine that tomorrow you will meet Alexander Lukashenko somewhere. What will you tell him?
VB: I would tell him: «Repent, you have too little time left. Only one life is given, you must admit all your mistakes, you have no right to hold power in an illegal way, you have no right to mock people, you have no right to kill, each of us must live by the law. And if I am summoned to the Investigative Committee, then I am not against answering before the law, I am not against the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office to check all my actions and statements. But only I urge: then you, Alexander Grigorievich, go to The Hague and answer before the law».