DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     April 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 72

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          ZAGREB, Croatia (CWNews.com) - Auxiliary Bishop Djuro Gasparovic of Djakovo-Srijem, Croatia, is reportedly being prevented from leaving Serbia in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by Yugoslav authorities after a visit to Croatian Catholics in the country who are part of his diocese.

          Bishop Gasparovic went to Serbia for Easter celebrations in various Catholic parishes and was not allowed to return home after his pastoral visit ended. Yugoslav authorities claim that Bishop Gasparovic is subject to a general military mobilization, as he was born in Yugoslavia and still holds a Yugoslav passport. However, on Monday, military authorities said the bishop will be released from military service and allowed to reenter Croatia.

          Bishop Gasparovic waited for the clearance in his birth place Golubinci, where there are no direct NATO strikes, but will have to travel to Belgrade to obtain clearance. The bishop's mother said she expects him to return to Croatia by the middle of the week.

          Yugoslavia proclaimed a state of emergency after NATO air strikes began two weeks ago and forbade everyone subject to military service from leaving the country. But the government has traditionally excused all higher clergy from military obligations.

          In a related story, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has sharply criticized the government of Yugoslavia, saying that a "deformed" ideology led to the current conflict over Kosovo.

          "These conflicts in the heart of Europe cannot be explained by strategic or economic interests," the April 10 story said. Rather, the conflict is "the fruit of a deformed concept of cultural identity, the absurd principle of ethnic homogeneity, to be realized by exterminating what is different." The Vatican newspaper said that this ethnic ideology created a mentality in which "the enemy is the one who embodies a culture, a tradition, or even a religion that is different."

          "The cancer which plagues the Balkans must be conquered by political force, by diplomacy, and by cooperation among peoples," L'Osservatore insisted. Otherwise the cancer would "metastasize," the paper warned, and "undermine other peoples, even affecting all of Europe with the disease of secular nationalisms which seem to have reappeared after 50 years of peace."

          The Vatican newspaper also said that the current government of Yugoslavia can no longer offer any effective leadership. The paper said that years of international sanctions, and exclusion from the international community had taken a toll on the country's economic vitality, even before the latest round of violence.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 72


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