DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     May 20, 1998     vol. 9, no. 98

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          BLAJ, Romania (CWNews.com) - Romanian President Emil Constantinescu on Sunday called for the Romanian Orthodox Church and Eastern-rite Catholics to settle their differences to help the country build a future in the post-Communist era.

          Constantinescu spoke at a Catholic church, one of the few returned to Catholics after the Communist-era ban on the faith was lifted in 1990 when the Communist government fell. Most churches and property belonging to the 300,000-strong minority were turned over to the Romanian Orthodox Church and attempts to settle property disputes have resulted in riots and violent confrontations. The president did not publicly support the Catholic demand for a mass restitution of churches seized in the 1940s.

          "I want to pay tribute to Orthodox and Greek Catholic clergy who have understood the importance of the unity of our people," Constantinescu said. "At the end of this century we are at peace with our neighbours and we have good understanding with minorities. Romania can serve as an example of stability in an area with many conflicts." Many Catholics reacted angrily to the call for end to the dispute, with many in the crowd chanting "We want our church back."

          Fistfights erupted earlier this year in a disputed church in the Transylvanian church of Cluj when Orthodox parishioners resisted a court order to return it to Catholics.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 20, 1998       volume 9, no. 98


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