Who are what could be forcing Catholics out of Bosnia? Source: Catholics ‘fleeing Bosnia-Herzegovina’ over discrimination | CatholicHerald.co.uk
Up to 10,000 Catholics are leaving Bosnia-Herzegovina every year because of state discrimination against the religious minority, according to the country’s cardinal.
Cardinal Vinko Puljić, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, highlighted the alarming exodus of the faithful in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
He told ACN that the ongoing haemorrhaging was a legacy of the 1992-95 war that caused at least 250,000 of the faithful – around half the country’s Catholics – to become refugees.
The cardinal said: “During the war and in the immediate aftermath of the war most of the Catholics were expelled from their homes and there was a great deal of destruction and looting.
“After the war there was neither political nor financial support provided for an ongoing return of the refugees and expelled.”
Referring to the legacy of the peace agreement reached in 1995, he added: “The Dayton Accords were not implemented in practice, and those who suffered most were the Catholic Croat minority.
“It is harder for them to defend their basic rights.”
Cardinal Puljić warned that the community faced an unstable future.
He said: “The resulting insecurity is evident today among the people, and some people are leaving the country for this reason.
“They are concerned for the future of their children.”
He added: “The situation has been exacerbated by various negative reports in the media, which have been exploited in order to poison the atmosphere.”
Describing prejudice against the faithful, he said: “There are no equal rights for them in those areas where the Catholic minority finds itself in the midst of a majority of the other ethnic groups.
“This discrimination is expressed in political and administrative terms and above all where employment is concerned.”
Cardinal Puljić added: “Looking at the situation of the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is reason to be seriously concerned for the future.
“If there were no more Croats left there, then there would also be no more Catholics, since most of the Croats are Catholics. For this reason also it is important to create a situation of equal rights.”
The cardinal said despite the mass emigration of Catholics and insecurity among those who remain, the Church is trying to give believers confidence and hope.
The Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina has long since disappeared from the headlines. Officially, the war there ended with the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995. But the wounds of the war are still very much in evidence and continue to have an effect on the lives of people there to this day, more than 20 years after the war ended. During the war, out of a former Catholic population of well over half a million, at least half were driven out of the country, according to the website of the archdiocese of Vrhbosna, which is based in Sarajevo.
Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the current Archbishop of the diocese, has again drawn attention to the alarming situation facing the Catholics in his country. Most of these Catholics are Croats, and before the war they accounted for some 17% of the population.
It is currently estimated that up to 10,000 Catholics are now emigrating from the country each year, the Cardinal was recently quoted as saying in the Catholic News agency of the bishops‘ conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the interview below with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) he gives an overview of the current situation of the Catholics in the country.
Nope. If Cardinal Puljic stated the threat in the full interview with the Catholic charity they didn’t publish it. And therein lies the problem in the Western world. Maybe the Clintons know. [read Clinton’s Bosnia becoming ISIS stronghold in the heart of Europe or The West Ignores ISIS “Safe Havens” In Bosnia]
See our full archive on Bosnia here.