The Catholic Church leadership in Croatia is continuing with the initiative to bring various religious communities together in paying respects to the victims of World War II. After the recent commemorative prayer event for Holocaust victims held in front of the Zagreb cathedral, led by Cardinal Josip Bozanić, the archbishop of Zagreb, there is now a new initiative for the organisation of the first joint prayer meeting at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp, which should bring together Orthodox episcopes, Catholic bishops, rabbis and muftis from Croatia, and was launched by the Bishop of Požega, Antun Škvorčević, reports Večernji List on February 11, 2019.
Bishop Škvorčević visited recently the rabbi of the Bet Israel Jewish Religious Community, Kotel Da Don, with whom he spoke about the issue of remembering the victims of the Jasenovac camp and the participation in the commemorations organised by the Croatian government. The bishop informed the rabbi about the programme that the Požega Diocese organises each year at Jasenovac. He suggested the possibility of the joint participation of several religious communities in the event at Jasenovac. Rabbi Kotel Da-Don accepted this proposal, according to a report by the Catholic Information Agency.
This means that leaders of religious communities would hold a separate gathering, i.e. they would not participate in the traditional political commemoration of Jasenovac victims. The Catholic and Orthodox sides also support such an initiative. As soon as he became the Orthodox bishop of Pakrac, Jovan Ćulibrk made it clear that the Jasenovac liturgy should not have anything to do with the politics. “When we approach Jasenovac with sincere respect for the victims, without ideological, national or political exclusivity or manipulation, with openness to the truth, then it can become the place of our encounter.”
“I am glad that Jovan is acting in this way, giving hope that it will not be long before we start remembering not just the victims who belonged to own people but also the victims belonging to other peoples killed under any flag and because of any reason,” said Bishop Škvorčević. “The Požega diocese tries to serve this goal”, said Škvorčević, who has built excellent relationships with the Pakrac bishop Jovan.
The first gathering of religious leaders at Jasenovac, also involving leaders of the Islamic and Jewish community, would send a joint message to their faithful and the world.
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Darko Pavičić).
More news about Jasenovac can be found in the Politics section.