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(E) "Priests flex Their Muscles"
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/26/2002 | Letters to the Editors | Unrated
(E) "Priests flex Their Muscles"

International War and Peace Report

To: International War and Peace Report
To: info@IWPR.net 
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 19:33:00 -0700
Subject: Article "Priests Flex Their Muscles"

Dear Editor:

It is clear from the choice of articles you print about Croatia, that you
only chose writers who criticize the country. While every country,
especially one coming out of a brutal war, has its ups and downs, you
have never found anything complimentary to say, so that one would get the
impression that Croatia must be one of the worst countries on earth.
Which of course is absurd and totally untrue. The fact that these critics
might be communists or nostalgic for Serb-controlled Yugoslavia does not
seem to be of any account to you. (Or perhaps your organization itself is
run by Serbs.)

The article you published by Goran Vezic is full of falsities and unfair
criticism. He mentions for instance that there are now many more
Catholics in Croatia than during communist Yugoslavia. Surprise,
surprise!
Not many people wanted to broadcast their adherence to the Catholic faith
during the communist rule. Croatia was always a predominantly Catholic
country, so it is not surprising that 88% are members of that Church. It
is not true that the Catholic hierarchy agreed with all of former
President Tudjman's HDZ policies. The present archbishop Bozanic as well
as the former Cardinal Kuharic repeatedly criticized the Government for
the corruption and the steadily more impoverished populace. What's more,
Cardinal Kuharic issued an open appeal against the HDZ policy regarding
Bosnia. The Church always stood for social justice and when it was
trampled - no matter by which government - it spoke out. 

Regarding the "interference by the Church" in the attempt by Prime
Minister Racan to appoint professor Neven Budak as Minister of Science,
the Church had very good reasons. Professor Budak has successfully
interfered in the nomination of the well-respected - but Catholic -
professor Ivancic as rector of the Zagreb University. He also objected to
a number of other matters involving the Catholic religion, such as
opposing the Church's tax exempt status. That such exemption exists
everywhere else in the West did not seem to count. Isn't it odd - no one
is criticizing or even bringing up the point that in Serbia all public
officials are Serb Orthodox and no one would even think of objecting to
it, but in Croatia, some of these same commentators make a big issue of
the officials' Catholic religion. 

Lastly, - about the quotes of the so-called philosopher Mr. Puhovski, -
he has not been able to utter a kind word about Croatia since its
independence. The only reason he aspired to the Chair of the Croatian
Helsinki Committee is to be able to be publicly vocal in his criticisms.
Evidently he believes the old communist Yugoslavia was a more democratic
state and yearns for its return. Such people always seem to be quoted.

Sincerely,

Hilda M. Foley
Public Relations
National Federation of Croatian Americans
13272 Orange Knoll
Santa Ana, CA 92705

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