DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     August 27-29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 162

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle reports that Orthodox and Catholics leaders are working closely together in the Balkans.

        In an interview published by the Italian daily Avvenire, Patriarch Pavle said that there are no real tensions dividing Orthodox and Catholic Serbs-- although he did comment that he felt the Vatican recognition of Bosnian independence had been "a bit premature." For the most part, he said, "recently we have find ourselves very much united."

        The Serbian prelate expressed his gratitude for the statements made by Pope John Paul II during the war in Kosovo, when the Pontiff voiced his concern for the Serbian population and called for an end to NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

        Patriarch Pavle said that he, along with the Serbian Orthodox synod, now sought the resignation of Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, and the creation of a "provisional government" to guide the country through a period of transition to a new regime. He stressed that the Orthodox Church did not wish to become involved in practical politics, but sought only the welfare of the people.

        At the moment, Pavle observed, "anyone who is in power in Serbia will find himself at an impasse." The country has become "isolated from the world," he said; Serbia is now "reduced to a ghetto, a prison." For that reason, he argued, it is essential to support a change in government, and a drive toward democracy.

        Asked whether the Serbian Orthodox Church had supported the drive for a "Greater Serbia," which was the focus of foreign policy for the Milosevic government throughout the 1990s, the patriarch said that the Church had never backed such a project. In fact, he said, any "Greater Serbia" could be built only on "a mountain of crimes."

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.

August 27-29, 1999       volume 10, no. 162


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