|Kosovo Crisis||CHURCHES SEEN AS CRUCIAL IN POST-WAR BALKANS||
Christian churches will have a key role to play in
the restoration of the Balkan region after the current war, a Vatican official
Catholic World News reports that Msgr. Eleuterio Fortino, the under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, said: "The role of the churches at the end of conflicts is to heal wounds, to salve hearts, to purify memories, and to engage in the process of reconstruction." Msgr. Fortino, who himself is an Albanian priest of the Byzantine rite, added that the main task of the Church in every situation is always "the proclamation of the Gospel, which is never captured by an ethnic group or a culture."
In the Balkans, Msgr. Fortino said, Christians have a special duty to respect "the command which Christ gave his disciples, that they love one another." He observed that collaboration among Christians of different denominations and different ethnic groups could help to bridge the cultural divides of the region. The Vatican official added that Muslims, too, could help in the task of reconciliation, insofar as they share with Christians "a common reference to the transcendent."
Msgr. Fortino, who is a personal acquaintance of the Kosovo Albanian leader Ibraham Rugova, saluted his friend's choice of non-violent resistance to Serbian domination. He said that Rugova understands Christian culture, and could be a valuable mediator between the Orthodox and Muslim communities.
|9:38am 15/4/99 / Catholic World News|