NGOs send pope letter concerned over recent events in Vukovar

Zagreb, 14.11.2013 - (Ilustracija) Ustavni sud dovršio je danas dvodnevne konzultacije o referendumu te utvrdio da nema razloga za poništavanje saborske odluke o referendumu o braku, neslužbeno se doznaje na tom sudu. Arhivska fotografija od 23.1.2013. godine prikazuje sjednicu Ustavnog suda Republike Hrvatske. Foto FaH/ Dario GRZELJ/ ik

Several nongovernmental organisations sent a letter to Pope Francis concerning the recent events in Vukovar in which they express their concern over the attitude by the episcopate in Croatia, “and in particular Cardinal Josip Bozanic and some other bishops who publicly expressed their objection to bilingualism in this eastern Croatian town.”

“In their public appearances they are using phrases that in no way contribute to peace and reconciliation but lead to the deepening of conflicts,” the letter to the pope says.

The NGOs appeal to the Pope to forward a message of Christian hope for peace to all of Croatian society, both majority and minority groups and in particular Croatian bishops.

“Croatian society needs more motivation for tolerance and love toward their neighbours,” the NGOs say.

Peace activist from Osijek Katarina Kruhonja told a press conference on Friday that she considers this letter to be a clear call that Croatian society and all those dedicated to building peace and creating trust need support due to the “growing trend of hate, exclusivity and violence.”

The letter is an invitation to the Catholic Church in Croatia and other religious organisations to see the graveness of the situation and that dialogue is necessary between civil and religious organisations about how to step out of the conflict of intolerance and exclusivity, she said.