December 3, 2004
The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Powell:
On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I want to express our deep concern about the current situation in Ukraine and our continuing support of a strong U.S. effort to secure a just, peaceful and lawful respect for the will of the people of Ukraine.
The U.S. Catholic Church has a long history of solidarity with the church and people in Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. For many years, our Conference has supported a greater respect for human rights and religious liberty in this region. We are deeply concerned about the misuse of political power to sway the recent elections fraudulently and to deny basic human rights. However, we are greatly encouraged by the strong demonstration of support for democracy by many in Ukraine, including the Catholic community.
We welcome and support the U.S. government's efforts to express strongly its concerns with the way the elections were conducted as well as its call for respect for law, for the democratic will of the people of Ukraine and for the territorial integrity of the country. We encourage the U.S. government to do all it can to continue to promote a political dialogue and to help the people of Ukraine find a just, peaceful and lawful solution to this political crisis.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns.
Most Reverend John H. Ricard
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Chairman International Policy Committee