Speaking in an interview with Fena news agency, Vukšić cited data from the parishes according to which 424,000 Catholics had lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina immediately after the country’s 1992-1995 war, and the country was left without as many as 100,000 Catholics in the 2003-2019 period alone.
Before the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early March 2020, slightly over 350,000 Catholics had lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and their emigration continues, the archbishop noted.
He said people were leaving because they could not find work, as well as because of hopelessness, corruption and legal uncertainty.
“This affects people of all faiths, but unfortunately just like in neighbouring countries, the government is hardly interested, which is a shame,” Vukšić said.
He said that all problems, including demographics, should be dealt with faster, and that religious communities had the responsibility to establish and promote dialogue as a precondition for addressing the problems.
“Ecumenism and dialogue is achieved through open and friendly meetings with other people who are different. This is an integral and indispensable part of the identity and mission of the Catholic Church, even when perhaps others do not accept it,” the archbishop said. “I want such cooperation and dialogue with everyone and will always try my best to be open.”
Vukšić succeeded Cardinal Vinko Puljić, who had served as Archbishop of Sarajevo for 30 years until last month when he was retired by Pope Francis.
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