DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN-MON     July 2-5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 128

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Archbishop Santos Abril Expresses Closeness to Orthodox and Moslems

          PEC, KOSOVO, JUL 1 (ZENIT).- Archbishop Santos Abril, the Holy See's apostolic nuncio in Belgrade, was among the first Westerners to enter Kosovo, along with the international troops responsible for ensuring the safe return of the Kosovo Albanian refugees.

          "I arrived in Pec to meet the Catholic community. During my trip, I was able to embrace the new Bishop of Montenegro and Bishop Marko Sopi of Kosovo, director of Caritas-Yugoslavia. I was also able to greet the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Pec," the papal representative in Yugoslavia said.

          Archbishop Santos Abril expressed his special closeness and concern for the Orthodox religious authorities and asked them for news on the situation of the Kosovo Serbs, who are now, themselves, victims of ethnic cleansing.

          Because of this, the papal representative contacted leaders of KFOR to request "that NATO's presence be a source of security for these people who are now in difficulty. I also asked them to protect the sacred places of worship."

          In statements to the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," Archbishop Santos Abril disclosed that he had very useful meetings with the priests of the Orthodox Church, geared toward improving relations with that Church, as well as providing it aid. "We told them that we are here to help. I did the same when I met the Moslem leaders. We, the Catholic Church, want to be a link, a point of meeting, a bridge of brotherhood for all, in order to really help these people. We want to tell them that reciprocal collaboration will guarantee security for all."

          The Catholic Church is able to have this role in Yugoslavia, and in post-war Kosovo, because during the most difficult moments the Church maintained a position of respect and solidarity with all: Orthodox, and Moslems, with no ethnic or religious distinctions.

          After being on the streets of Kosovo over the last few days, the nuncio concluded that the most important element for the reconstruction of the country is to "demolish the wall of hatred and resentment." ZE99070102

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.

July 2-5, 1999       volume 10, no. 128


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