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10.04.2018 | 20:29 | IKA E - 199293/4

Statement by the Croatian Conference of Bishops with Regard to the Ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence

We oppose the ratification of the Convention and believe that the Republic of Croatia, with its legal framework and implementation, can alone — and in a more effective manner than the measures and manner foreseen by the Convention — regulate the issue of preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

Zagreb, (IKA) - On April 10, the Croatian bishops assembled at the Fifty-Sixth Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops issued a statement with regard to the ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. We present this statement, as issued by the Press Office of the CCB, in its entirety:

"As stakeholders in the life of the Croatian society, with our particular Church responsibility but also the responsibility of Croatian citizens, in the pursuit of the good of our homeland, we turn to the public, especially those responsible for making political decisions that inevitably entail serious consequences for the life of the nation and for the future of the Croatian state.

"As representatives of the communities of the faithful, we are confronted with the issues, needs and worries of people who turn to us out of concern for the values upon which the identity of the vast majority of the Croatian citizens rests. With all seriousness, we take into account the statements and sentiments of the faithful (sensus fidelium), as well as of other people who care about preserving the fundamental determinants of Judeo-Christian anthropology, based on human nature.

"Having already repeatedly emphasized, both in joint and individual statements, our commitment to the protection of all people from violence, we caution that the Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, in addition to that which is positive, as emphasized in its title, contains much that is perplexing and ambiguous.

"We oppose the ratification of the Convention and believe that the Republic of Croatia, with its legal framework and implementation, can alone—and in a more effective manner than the measures and manner foreseen by the Convention— regulate the issue of preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

"It is our duty to state directly and clearly, first of all to all the members of the Catholic Church, regardless of the political party or option to which they belong, who have to vote FOR or AGAINST the ratification of the Convention, that it contains ideological elements consistent with 'gender theory,' reflecting gender ideology on the basis of which a so-called 'gender culture' is built, which is foreign to Christian and general human values and contrary to the teachings of the Church.

"To vote FOR the ratification of the Convention means, among other things, to open the door to something that is contrary to human createdness, the natural law and the fundamental values of Christian faith and culture, which we regard as devastating for the family, for the democratic renewal of the nation and for the education of new generations. Therefore, we urge the national representatives in the Croatian Parliament to declare their opposition to the ratification of the Convention.

"Likewise, confronted with indications of pressure upon the consciences of individuals, we call for the securing of freedom of conscience and the expression of one's own convictions and positions, because denial of freedom would be an indicator of sliding into a totalitarian mentality.

"Since we care about the community, peace and the promotion of the dignity of each person, we are apprehensive about the strife, unrest and conflict being introduced into the Croatian society. As believers, we must protect ourselves from every attempt to manipulate the Church politically, and not endorse any threats or insults addressed to those who present their personal views.

"We pray for the gifts of strength, humility, and the wisdom that senses and respects the pulse of the nation, regardless of who comes out of the current controversy as the 'winner' or 'loser,' in order to direct the forces of good to the betterment of the Croatian homeland, recalling the selfless acts and sacrifices made for freedom and independence. Trusting in God's nearness, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, and the help of the saints and blesseds, especially Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, we pray for peace and blessing for all."

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