Sarajevo Cardinal on Peace, Development and Pope Francis

Vinko Puljic Speaks From Charismatic Renewal Convention

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The 12th of 13 children, his mother died when he was three. A year after his appointment as archbishop on November 19, 1990, the fighting began in Bosnia. During the siege of Sarajevo he was distinguished for his heartbreaking appeals for peace to the international community and the defense of the inalienable rights of the person. He risked his life, he was apprehended and imprisoned for 12 hours by the Serbian military. As a sign of closeness to the people stricken by the armed conflict, he was created cardinal at 49 by John Paul II in the Consistory of November 26, 1994. He is the first Bosnian cardinal in history. Among the offices he holds is that of member of the International Investigating Commission on Medjugorje.

ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Puljic. Asked what will happen with Medjugorje, the cardinal, who is a member of the International Commission that is examining the case, said he couldn’t say anything, and assured that he asks for Mary’s intercession.

Here is the interview:

ZENIT: How did you come to know the Charismatic Renewal?

Cardinal Puljic: I didn’t know Renewal in the Spirit. There are no groups of it in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the context of the Synod on the New Evangelization, Salvatore Martinez was in the same minor circle with me. He spoke to me about Renewal in the Spirit and invited me to come to Rimini. “All right,” I answered, «I want to know it.» There are few Movements in my country because during Communism they were prohibited. After the war, the situation was difficult. Now we want to foster the flowering of these groups.

ZENIT: What were the reactions in your country to Pope Francis’ election? What did the Muslims say?

Cardinal Puljic: I was astonished and in admiration of the reactions to Pope Francis’ election. In Bosnia-Herzegovina all the mass media, especially television, followed attentively the Conclave and the proclamation of the Pontiff. There was great enthusiasm, even Muslim journalists said “what a great man.” People think that “many positive energies are flowing from this election.”

On Maundy Thursday the Holy Father also washed the feet of  a Muslim boy and a Muslim girl. This was a sign of love. The Holy Father wished to give a strong sign of love, the same as Jesus gave to the Apostles.

ZENIT: What should Europe do to aid peace and development in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

Cardinal Puljic: When equality of rights is lacking it’s very difficult to establish a lasting peace. I live in Sarajevo. I’ve asked for permission to build a church. After 14 years, I’ve yet to receive the permission. When there are problems with other religions the international community intervenes, but when it’s a question of Catholics there isn’t the same care.   

I think Europe must listen to our problems and help us to create a situation of normality. Where there is equality of rights there is peace. I see a certain slowness in Europe. The European Union should help us in seeking to foster development. In my country, 46% are unemployed. It’s a very grave problem, especially for young people, who emigrate. And a country without young people has no future. It’s very important to provide aid for development, fostering work activities. It’s also important to repair the damages of war. It’s easy to rebuild houses destroyed by the war, but it’s more difficult to heal the wounds in people’s hearts.

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Antonio Gaspari

Cascia (PG) Italia Studi universitari a Torino facoltà di Scienze Politiche. Nel 1998 Premio della Fondazione Vittoria Quarenghi con la motivazione di «Aver contribuito alla diffusione della cultura della vita». Il 16 novembre del 2006 ho ricevuto il premio internazionale “Padre Pio di Pietrelcina” per la “Indiscutibile professionalità e per la capacità discreta di fare cultura”. Il Messaggero, Il Foglio, Avvenire, Il Giornale del Popolo (Lugano), La Razon, Rai tre, Rai due, Tempi, Il Timone, Inside the Vatican, Si alla Vita, XXI Secolo Scienza e Tecnologia, Mondo e Missione, Sacerdos, Greenwatchnews. 1991 «L'imbroglio ecologico- non ci sono limiti allo sviluppo» (edizioni Vita Nuova) . 1992 «Il Buco d'ozono catastrofe o speculazione?» (edizioni Vita Nuova). 1993 «Il lato oscuro del movimento animalista» (edizioni Vita Nuova). 1998 «Los Judios, Pio XII Y la leyenda Negra» Pubblicato da Planeta in Spagna. 1999 «Nascosti in convento» (Ancora 1999). 1999 insieme a Roberto Irsuti il volume: «Troppo caldo o troppo freddo? - la favola del riscaldamento del pianeta» (21mo Secolo). 2000 “Da Malthus al razzismo verde. La vera storia del movimento per il controllo delle nascite” (21mo Secolo, Roma 2000). 2001 «Gli ebrei salvati da Pio XII» (Logos Press). 2002 ho pubblicato tre saggi nei volumi «Global Report- lo stato del pianeta tra preoccupazione etiche e miti ambientalisti» (21mo Secolo, Roma 2002). 2002 ho pubblicato un saggio nel nel Working Paper n.78 del Centro di Metodologia delle scienze sociali della LUISS (Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli di Roma) «Scienza e leggenda, l’informazione scientifica snobbata dai media». 2003 insieme a VittorFranco Pisano il volume “Da Seattle all’ecoterrorismo” (21mo Secolo, Roma 2003). 2004 ho pubblicato insieme a Riccardo Cascioli “Le Bugie degli Ambientalisti” (Edizioni Piemme). 2004 coautore con del libro “Emergenza demografia. Troppi? Pochi? O mal distribuiti?” (Rubbettino editore). 2004 coautore con altri del libro “Biotecnologie, i vantaggi per la salute e per l’ambiente” ((21mo Secolo, Roma 2004). 2006 insieme a Riccardo Cascioli “Le Bugie degli Ambientalisti 2” (Edizioni Piemme). 2008 insieme a Riccardo Cascioli il libro “Che tempo farà… Falsi allarmismi e menzogne sul clima (Piemme). 2008, è stata pubblicata l’edizione giapponese de “Le bugie degli ambientalisti” edizioni Yosensha. 2009. insieme a Riccardo Cascioli “I padroni del Pianeta – le bugie degli ambientalisti su incremento demografico, sviluppo globale e risorse disponibili” (Piemme). 2010 insieme a Riccardo Cascioli, è stato pubblicato il volume “2012. Catastrofismo e fine dei tempi” (Piemme). 2011 Questo volume è stato pubblicato anche in Polonia con l’imprimatur della Curia Metropolitana di Cracovia per le e3dizioni WYDAWNICTTWO SW. Stanislawa BM.

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