Stanislav Hocevar, Belgrade Archbishop in an interview with Belgrade based daily Vecernje Novosti says that Catholics have many problems in Kosovo, especially with emigration. Less Catholic believers in Kosovo, less readiness for dialogue.
He added that it would be good if the Catholic Church is included in the dialogue on the future of Kosovo.
“Serbia, if it provides dialogue in an integral sense and is oriented towards Europeanization and taking its place in the EU, could have an important place among the leading European countries. It has incomparably richer experience than others. Its strength lies in the position it occupies – between the East and the West, but also the complexity of history. Wherever there was conflict in the past, space for new opportunities and cooperation has been created. This should be an authentic road for Serbia,” Hocevar said to the daily in a traditional interview before Catholic Christmas.
The Holy See did not recognize the independence of Kosovo. Nevertheless, a special diocese was recently formed. The Belgrade Archbishop said that the reasons for this move were purely pastoral.
“The believers there needed help in religious life. The level of the apostolic administration did not fully allow this because the bishop did not have the necessary authority. Our believers have many problems there, especially with emigration. The founding of the diocese is also useful to Serbia, because there are fewer Catholics in Kosovo, thus less readiness to engage in dialogue. I am sorry that the opportunity was missed to strengthen the Serb community there after 1999. That was the best way to resolve inter-ethnic relations, with all the necessary guarantees from the international community,” said Hocevar.