The Yugoslav Government has classified The local Caritas Director and other priests and religious with Serbian passports as "reservists" and therefore forbidden to leave the country.
    Caritas Director Father Antun Pecar said: "I asked for permission to go to the Croatian capital for a few days, but I was not even given an answer."
    The Italian daily 'Avvenire' reports that the Belgrade delegation was absent from the Caritas International summit held in Zagreb, Croatia.
    Priests and religious up to 60 years of age can be called up for service. Those who leave the country are considered deserters. At present, they are not even given temporary permits to leave the country for special meetings abroad to which they are invited, many of which are to organize aid for victims of the war. Of a total of 200 priests and religious, only Archbishop Franc Perco, who is older than 60, and one of his assistants can travel.
    "It would not be so bad if they at least allowed Caritas to act and collect the aid," Father Antun said. But their veto of Caritas' activity has left the latter's warehouses empty for weeks and what is even worse, it is simply not allowed to receive aid.

11:08am 11/5/99 / Zenit


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