NOVEMBER 14 2007 20:09h
It is important that we all return to God’s laws, is the stance of Kovacevic, whilst SDP says this is Church internal business.
The Italian newspaper Repubblica announced that representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox churches have singed a document in Ravenna, which is the foundation of the ecumenism (re-unification) of the two churches. In this historical document, it is established that Rome is the “first see” of the two churches, and the Pope is the “first amongst patriarchs”. It was these two points that were the main reasons because of which the East-West Schism occurred in the church in 1054.
These same two points could now be the foundation of reunification, and the news of the two largest Christian churches getting closer to one another we received as good news by most Croatian politicians. However, some parties like SDP (Social Democratic Party) and HNS (Croatian People’s Party) kept a withheld stance, not seeing this news with great enthusiasm, like their more traditional political rivals.
Antunovic: Minor theme
Nobody from the largest opposition party in Croatia (SDP) wanted to comment on the possible reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
We asked SDP member Zeljka Antunovic to comment the document from Ravenna, and she answered that she does not have the will to be involved in minor themes, because they are in the middle of a campaign.
After we reminded her that other parties are also in the middle of pre-election campaigns, but are still commenting on the Vatican’s decision, she asked us to talk to SDP’s spokesperson Gordana Grbic.
“Reunification is an internal Church matter”
We tried to get a comment from the young social democrat Marija Lugaric, who recently publicly opened the topic of throwing Catholic studies out of Croatian schools, but this time did not want to get involved in church matters.
- I have no comments, because anything that I say during the campaign can be turned around and misused – said Lugaric being careful, and directed us to Grbic. She told us the official stance of the party:
- The reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox churches is an internal church matter, and let them whatever they agree upon – said Grbic. When asked how this decision could effect the relations of Croatian Catholics with the Orthodox in the region, Grbic answered: “Ask the Catholics”.
“Great success of Pope Benedikt XVI.”
SDP’s most fierce rival HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) strongly supports the decision of the two churches. Ivan Jarnjak from HDZ says how the reunification is a very good thing for the future and keeping the faith, and stressed that this document is only the foundation of reunification.
- Some time needs to pass, and let the process of the churches getting closer happen by itself, because the conflicts that they have had until now will not immediately disappear – stresses Jarnjak. He added that he welcomes the great success that has been achieved by the signing of the document in Ravenna.
He said that the document is a great success of Pope Benedict XVI, who has continued with the wishes of his predecessor Pope John Paul II, to reunite the Catholics and Orthodox.
Pusic: Everything together is a little unbelievable
Unlike the clear support from HDZ, the president of HNS, Vesna Pusic was slightly sceptical when the possibility of the reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox churches are concerned, so she did not want to comment the news about it.
- This is the first I have hard of it, and it is unusual that such important news is released just like that. It is all a little unbelievable, and if it is really true, it would be unusual news – said Pusic for Javno. However, she added that in any case, she advocates ecumenism.
“It is important that we all try to return to God’s law’s”
The reunification of the Catholics and Orthodox would be positive for the future, and for peace in these regions, claims Pero Kovacevic from HSP (Croatian Party of Rights).
- There is one God, and there is no reason to make further divisions, if we respect God, there is nothing for anyone to be against, God is God – said Kovacevic. He said that the evolution of civilization would probably be different if there was no East-West Schism in the church in 1054.
- It is only important that we all try to return to God’s laws – concluded Kovacevic.
DC (Democratic Centre) member Vesna Skare-Ozbolt was surprised by the news. Something like this has not occurred for the tens of centuries, the biggest historical event since the Schism.
- The reunification could have a very positive effect on the relations of Croatians with their Orthodox neighbours, so that the danger of war and evil events disappears – said Skare-Ozbolt, adding that the churches growing closer could avoid further conflicts in the region.
“A reunification must occur sooner or later”
Despite the differences between the Catholic and Orthodox churches, the representative of the Serbian national minority Vojislav Stanimirovic said that he welcomes the foundation document about reunification.
- I think that they have decided upon a map of the way to unite after the Schism in the 11th Century. That is a good path. A reunification must occur sooner or later – said Stanimirovic.
He mentioned the problem of “first amongst equals”, because he stresses that there are certain misunderstandings between the Constantinople and Moscow patriarchs. He added that they do not have a joint stance, because the Constantinople patriarch recognizes Rome, and Moscow’s patriarch does not agree.
Despite the differences, Stanimirovic considers that the foundation stone has been laid, and that reunification is needed for the future.