Požeški biskup Antun Škvorčević
On Sunday, August 25, the Bishop of Požega, Msgr. Antun Škvorčević, presided oer the installation of the new pastor, the Rev. Zdravko Radoš, at the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity in Daruvar.
On the basis of the first Sunday reading from the prophet Isaiah, Bishop Škvorčević argued in his homily that God does not confine his salvific activity only to the Jews but rather encompasses all “nations of every language.” Moreover, he referred to Jesus’ statement in the Gospel that people will come to the kingdom of God from the east and west, from the north and south, and that some who had considered themselves to be God’s own would be cast out.
The bishop pointed out that the universality of salvation has particular significance for the activity of the new pastor in Daruvar, where members of the Croatian, Czech, Serbian and other nationalities live, and, in the name of the gospel, he should promote not only tolerance but also mutual respect and community, valuing diversity as a gift from God and cooperating for the common good. The bishop spoke about the value of national affiliations from the standpoint of faith and, among other things, said:
“Jesus did not call himself a Jew but rather the Son of Man. He died for every person and confirmed to Croats and Czechs, Serbs and others that he is our brother. This is precisely the reason why the faithful must accept every person with profound respect and never scorn others for any reason, whatsoever, especially not in the name of national affiliation.
In this spirit, I condemn the violence that has been perpetrated these days in Knin, Đevraske, Viškovo and other places in our Croatian homeland against persons of Serbian nationality and express my compassion for the victims. It is unacceptable to transform Croatian patriotism into an ideology of hatred and violence. Croatian patriotism is a value system that incorporates the principles of the gospel. When someone hates members of other nationalities and commits violence against them, he is wounding the Christian heritage and acting against God’s plan for mankind.”
The bishop also added the following: “I disassociate myself from those who are attempting to use the aforementioned events for their own political goals, attributing false significance to them, promoting new divisions and spreading distrust, which could result in even greater evil than the violence perpetrated.”