JANUARY 2 2012 23:07h
Do infidels belong to Church? There is a certain bigotry rising from that question, as it is rising from a discussion about Josipovic and Milanovic attending the Christmas mass in the Zagreb cathedral. But if the president and the prime minister didn’t arrive to the main Christmas celebration, it would be a huge lapse.
Josipovic and Milanovic who declare themselves as agnostics have sent a simple, but also an important message with their appearance on the mass. By that act they are telling us that they respect the citizens’ religious feelings. They also said that, they wanted to spend the day of the great catholic celebration with the mass number of people participating that event. They said that they considered the Christmas celebration as a part of Croatian and European culture.
Courting the Church, as a possible motive for such gesture, is out of every logical matter. If they didn’t do such thing during the pre-election period, there is a less reason that the current authority is trying to wheedle the church hierarchy now when they won the election without the help of the church. Today’s Church as today’s Croatia are not the same as they were back in the beginning of the nineties when the patriotism as well as the suitability for certain authority positions was measured by the affiliation to the catholic religion? Luckily, those times have passed.
Those times were replaced by the age of tolerance, the age of mutual respect and appreciation. If Josipovic and Milanovic had skipped over the Christmas mass that would have been a sign they are separated from the regular people, not being interested in their tradition and not respecting their religious feelings. Their absence would look like a certain way of elitism: why should we interfere with the regular people, ‘’small people’’ have their own celebration and we are above that. Milanovic and Josipovic didn’t stumble over such mistake. They paid respect to the ‘’regular’’ people and to their religious beliefs. And if we applauded once to the Catholic Sanader who came to congratulate the Eastern Orthodox Christmas, would it be inconsistent to judge Milanovic and Josipovic’s attendance to the celebration of Catholic Christmas?
The state president Ivo Josipovic, the new parliament speaker Boris Sprem and the Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic were together in the Cathedral last Sunday. There was no spontaneity. Their arrival was coordinated. And that was a positive message as opposed to the one that was sent by the recent government setup in their last phase when the Prime Minister Kosor was turning her back to the Parliament speaker Luka Bebic as when she couldn’t arrange the common press conference with Josipovic to remark the official termination of the negotiation with the EU.
Croatia needs more complicated reign. When Josipovic and Milanovic together attend the holly mass, it gives hope that ‘’two hills’’ won’t be arguing any more, as Mesic and Racan did, then Mesic and Sanader and later on Josipovic and Kosor. This relation of funny, almost infantile competition between the state boss and the prime minister has to become more serious.