Vatican view Serbian entry into European Union as an opportunity to spread Roman Catholic dominance into the country. They will use it to penetrate into Orthodox Christian hubs in Serbia and manipulate the situation in complete favor of Vatican imperial agenda.
“In Serbia, the Catholic Church has been through a considerable amount of catharsis.” With these words, Mirko Štefkoviæ, Secretary of Bishop János Pénzes of Subotica, describes the situation of Catholics in this country of south-eastern Europe.
Serbia’s opening after years of isolation, following the break-up of Yugoslavia, is seen by the Catholics as an opportunity, the 35-year-old Catholic priest emphasised further in a meeting with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
According to Štefkoviæ, some 410,000 Catholics live in Serbia. This Catholic grouping are made up of Hungarian, Croatian, Slovakian and German-speaking minorities. Serbia, which is seeking membership of the European Union, has 7.5 million inhabitants. The majority of the population are Orthodox Christians.
Serbia’s Catholic Church is divided into four Roman Catholic dioceses and one Greek Catholic diocese. The largest in terms of numbers is Subotica in the north of the country, in the province of Vojvodina. A hallmark of the region is its ethnic diversity. At the present time, 109 pastors belong to the Diocese of Subotica. Some 290,000 faithful are distributed among 116 parishes. “The focus of our pastoral work is the care of young people and families. The regular catechesis classes are well frequented,” says Mirko Štefkoviæ. There are good personal contacts with the Orthodox Church, but hardly any institutional cooperation.
Mirko Štefkoviæ describes the relations between the Catholic Church and the Serbian state as a “showroom” – excellent at first sight, but on closer examination in many respects vague and unsatisfactory. For example, the legal status of church bodies such as parishes remains ill-defined. They cannot even open a bank account. Equally unclear, he points out, is the recognition of academic qualifications obtained at religious colleges and universities abroad. In addition, the restitution of church property confiscated during the period of Communist dictatorship is only proceeding at a slow pace. For the time being, the Church therefore remains dependent on external assistance and financial support.