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18.06.2018 | 20:14 | IKA E - 201222/6

Statement on Conscience by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Croatian Conference of Bishops

The president and secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, Archbishop Đuro Hranić of Đakovo-Osijek and Dr. Vladimir Dugalić, presented a statement, Conscience: The Guardian of Human Dignity and Freedom, on June 18 at the headquarters of the Croatian Conference of Bishops in Zagreb.

Zagreb, (IKA) - The, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Croatian Conference of Bishops issued a statement, Conscience: The Guardian of Human Dignity and Freedom, on June 18 at the headquarters of the CCB, in which all the responsible persons and institutions in the Croatian society are urged to unconditionally respect the right to freedom of conscience, as a prerequisite for true freedom in a democratic society. In the statement, presented by the president and secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, Archbishop
Đuro Hranić of Đakovo-Osijek and Dr. Vladimir Dugalić, concern is expressed that the citizens' right to speak freely about sociopolitical and world issues has recently been increasingly challenged. A certain exclusivity has been noted by some individuals or individual interest groups, who do not hesitate to publicly undermine beliefs and attitudes that are contrary to their worldviews and ideological beliefs. In such an atmosphere, we are witnessing increasing recourse to the notion of "conscience" in reference to some key issues related to the general good in Croatia, primarily concerning values and questions of worldview or affiliation, according to the statement. The Justice and Peace Commission of the CCB is of the opinion that lack of respect for individual conscience and beliefs is an inadmissible attempt to jeopardize human freedom and, thereby, human dignity, and recognizes that this is at the root of many problems being faced by the Croatian society.
The Commission points out that it is necessary to differentiate the right of conscientious objection by an individual from respecting the decision of a particular political party. Partisan politics in a democracy presuppose that an individual will act according to the rules of the party, until they are changed in a democratic procedure. Without this rule, democracy could not function. However, when it comes to questions of value orientation, then an individual's freedom of conscience takes absolute precedence over so-called "party discipline." The comparison of "party discipline" with the right to conscientious objection is not only inadmissible but it is highly dangerous for the future of democracy in Croatia, according to the statement by the Justice and Peace Commission, which urges the political factors in Croatia not to link current political or other interests with the right to conscientious objection.

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