DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     April 28, 1999     vol. 10, no. 83

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Archbishop Franc Perko of Belgrade has dismissed a rumor that Pope John Paul II will visit the Yugoslavian capital on his return trip to Rome after visiting Romania early in May.

          Archbishop Perko told the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana that he could "completely exclude" the possibility of a papal visit to the embattled Balkan city. "The Pope has always spoken out against the bombing, and for that he is appreciated by the authorities in Belgrade," the archbishop explained. "But to visit Belgrade under these conditions would signal support for Milosevic, and that Holy See cannot allow that."

          Archbishop Perko said that he is pessimistic about the prospects that peace talks will end the current warfare. Saying that both NATO and Milosevic appear unwilling to compromise, he reasoned that in the absence of "a real miracle," a negotiated solution will prove elusive. "I cannot see any solution other than victory or defeat," he said.

          The Belgrade prelate expressed regret that the Serbian leadership did not pursue negotiations in Rambouillet, primarily because they did not have confidence in their negotiating partners from NATO. "A discussion-- even if it lasted forever-- would have avoided the massacres," he said. Once the bombing began, he said, it eliminated "any possibility of future accord between Serbs and Albanians."

          The archbishop said that the war is taking a heavy toll on his Serbian people. "The humanitarian tragedy is now affecting Serbia, too," he said, as the NATO air strikes devastate the economy. He added: "The war is reducing the people to misery--- today the Kosovars, and tomorrow the Serbs."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 28, 1999       volume 10, no. 83


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