Marco and Monica Tesei consider themselves a normal couple: married for 18 years; three children, ages 16, 14 and 11; living in a peaceful family neighborhood in Denver.
The unusual thing about them is that the family left their home in Rome five years ago to serve as missionaries in the Archdiocese of Denver.
They’re part of the Neocatechumenal Way, a parish-based faith formation program that has sent hundreds of missionary families around the world over the past 30 years to be a Christian presence by living a life of service, simplicity and poverty.
Monica Tesei describes it as a fulfilling way of life. “When you experience missionary work, you become closer to the Lord,” she said “It’s a way to meet him strongly.”
In 1988, Pope John Paul II started a tradition of blessing such families and their mission to evangelize when he celebrated Mass with 100 families of the Neocatechumenal Way in Porto San Giorgio, Italy, and sent them across the globe.
Precedents for this evangelical mission can be found in the early church: The New Testament tells of the family of Aquila and Priscilla, who collaborated with St. Paul in his evangelization efforts. During the ministry of the Benedictines in the Middle Ages, monks were accompanied by groups of Christian families; and in North America, Franciscan Father Junipero Serra’s California missionaries included Christian families who helped the priests.
Rose Mary McLeod, who, with husband Don, is responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way in Colorado, said about 300 missionary families were sent worldwide last year, another 250-300 are expected this year.
“Mission families are going ‘ike crazy,’” she said. “There are a lot of requests (from bishops).”
The Denver Archdiocese has four missionary families: two from Italy and two from Spain. The Teseis are assigned to Denver’s Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary; and the others to St. James Parish in Denver, St. John the Baptist in Johnstown and St. Theresa in Frederick. Three Colorado families recently left to serve in Alaska, Taiwan and Australia.
Missionary families are sent to “announce the Gospel,” they say. How that is accomplished varies. In addition to volunteer positions in parishes, seminaries and Catholic schools; the families assist with marriage preparation, catechesis, religious education and even labor such as janitorial work when necessary.
“They do whatever is needed; they’re there to serve,” McLeod said.
Marco Tesei, an accountant in Italy, and his wife, a former flight attendant, volunteer at the seminary, where he helps the administration.
“I’m happy to give my help to the seminary because it’s where priests are formed to do this mission,” Monica Tesei said to the Denver Catholic Register, official publication of the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Teseis, parishioners of St. Thomas More in Centennial, also conduct marriage preparation in English and Spanish at various parishes, assist at the seminary’s vocational center and present catechesis at parishes.
Marco Tesei said the family’s transition to missionary life happened fast.
They first felt a call to the work in 2004. In May 2005, the couple attended a retreat in Porto San Giorgio and the following January the family received a missionary crucifix and an apostolic blessing for their journey from Pope Benedict XVI. A month later, they said goodbye to family and friends, leaving what they called a “very beautiful life in Rome.”
“We left good jobs, our families, good schools — it was difficult, but that’s part of it,” Monica Tesei said. “We saw that the Lord is faithful. The Bible says ‘you will find a hundredfold if you leave something good for the Lord’and that was true for us.”
“We had a beautiful welcome here,” she added. “People are very generous.”
They visit Italy during the summer or at Christmas. Mission families often live in their assigned diocese for many years or even permanently.
“They go forever, theoretically,” McLeod said. “Sometimes they go back home, but for the most part they stay. They become acclimated to the culture, climate, language, everything.”
The Catholic Church Extension Society has awarded $125,000 to help the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services identify and promote vocations to the priesthood among active-duty Catholics in the U.S. armed forces.
The funds will support the archdiocese’s co-sponsored seminarian program, through which men in the military who are exploring a vocation to the priesthood are co-sponsored in their seminary training by the military archdiocese and their civilian home diocese.
Upon ordination, the priest provides three years of pastoral service to his civilian diocese before returning to serve on active duty in the armed forces as a military chaplain.
The co-sponsorship program, begun in 2008, has quadrupled the number of participating seminarians from seven to 28 in just two years.
“These brave military members have already demonstrated attributes of honor, self-discipline, obedience and valor, which are fundamental for the priesthood,” said Father John McLaughlin, vocations director for the military archdiocese.
“Catholic Extension’s funds will make it possible for us to continue promoting priestly vocations from within this incredible group of dedicated men,” he added in a Catholic News Service report.
Catholic Extension awards more than 1,000 grants each year to poor and isolated communities across the United States and its territories.
Also announced recently by the Chicago-based organization was the next grant from the Sister Marguerite Bartz Fund, created in April 2010 to honor Sister Marguerite, who was murdered in November 2009 in her home on the Navajo reservation.
The $20,000 grant went to the Dominican Faithweavers program, led by two Dominican Sisters in the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., to help develop leaders among Catholics in dozens of communities across western Kentucky by providing onsite services to the most understaffed parishes.
Led by Dominican Sisters Georgia Acker and Geraldine Hoye, the program fills a gap in professional support by traveling to local parishes to provide classes for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, spiritual retreats and evenings of reflection and the training of liturgical ministers, catechists for children and youth, and lay ministers.
Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, said the effective training of lay leaders is crucial to the future of the U.S. Catholic Church.
“As we witness so often with women religious in this country, Sister Georgia and Sister Geraldine have seen a pressing need in their diocese and taken it upon themselves to creatively and energetically fill this need,” Father Wall added.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace praised the Senate for ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia Dec. 22, saying it was important that senators “joined across party lines” to support the New START treaty.
“The Holy See and our bishops’ conference have long supported efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation based on the church’s moral concern for indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed April 8 in Prague by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The accord was ratified by the Senate in a 71-26 vote, and it still must be approved by Russia’s lawmakers.
It calls for both countries to reduce their strategic arsenals — weapons deployed on long-range missiles, bombers and submarines — to 1,550 each. Under the previous START pact, which expired in December 2009, both countries reduced their strategic arsenals to 2,200 weapons each.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations steered the pact through the Senate, said ratification “makes a statement about the United States of America as a whole, not just the president.”
“It says we’re a country in which, even in contentious times, where 100 senators have a responsibility, 71 of them came together … and articulated the direction the U.S. wants to go with respect to nuclear weapons,” Kerry added.
Other prominent Democrats who supported ratification included Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. All 56 Democratic senators voted for it, as did 13 Republicans and the chamber’s two Independents.
In the days leading up to the vote, Bishop Hubbard twice called on senators to ratify the New START pact, saying it was an urgent matter and would send “a clear and moral message to the world.”
He outlined the church’s long support for nuclear arms reduction, extending back to the Cold War. He said the U.S. bishops, as well as Pope Benedict XVI, have maintained that the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons is required in order to hold up the dignity of human life.
“Pope Benedict XVI has asserted that in nuclear war, there will be no victors, only victims,” Bishop Hubbard said in a Catholic News Service report.
Joining the bishop in a nationwide telephone news conference Dec. 7, the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also urged the Senate to act by the end of the 2010 rather than to delay a decision until the new Congress convenes in January.
A deeply divided Supreme Court of Canada has delivered an opinion that could pave the way for transgenic research combining human genomes with those of other species.
“It’s a gross affront to human dignity, that kind of experiment,” said Archbishop Richard Smith, vice president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in an interview with Canadian Catholic News from his Edmonton Archdiocese. “It’s not a matter of health care but a fundamental issue of human dignity that must rest on national law.”
The Dec. 22 split decision, 4-4-1, also leaves a legal void that could lead to the uncontrolled destruction of human life as embryos. At best, it may result in a patchwork of varying provincial regulations.
“We’re talking about a fundamental question of life itself and dignity of human life, this is a consideration that transcends provincial and national boundaries,” said Archbishop Smith in a Catholic News Service report.
The court’s opinion originated in a claim by the province of Quebec that sections of the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act violated provincial jurisdiction and were therefore unconstitutional. The Quebec Court of Appeal had determined aspects of the legislation were health matters under provincial control. With its split decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the appeals court.
Though four justices, in a decision written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, agreed that the contested sections of the act properly fell under the federal criminal law power, four others argued they were health matters under provincial jurisdiction. Justice Thomas Cromwell agreed mostly with the latter four, though not for the same reasons.
The Canadian bishops intervened jointly with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada when the court heard arguments in April 2009.
Don Hutchinson, legal counsel and vice president of the evangelical group, called the decision “regrettable.”
“The federal government has to move quickly to criminalize transgenics and genetic manipulation and the destruction of human embryos under certain conditions,” he said.
McLachlin’s decision echoed the concerns raised by both the Canadian bishops and the evangelicals.
“’Playing God’ with genetic manipulation engages moral concerns that my colleagues’ example of risky cardiac bypass surgery does not,” McLachlin wrote. “Different medical experiments and treatments will raise different issues.
“Few will raise ‘moral’ issues of an order approaching those inherent in reproductive technologies,” she said.
“The creation of human life and the processes by which it is altered and extinguished, as well as the impact this may have on affected parties, lie at the heart of morality,” McLachlin wrote. “Parliament has a strong interest in ensuring that basic moral standards govern the creation and destruction of life, as well as their impact on persons like donors and mothers.”
She said the 2004 legislation “seeks to avert serious damage to the fabric of our society by prohibiting practices that tend to devalue human life and degrade participants.”
Archbishop Smith said the Canadian bishops’ conference will have a more detailed response to the complex opinion in early January.
Noting the timing of the opinion’s release, days before Christmas, the archbishop said “the Son of God became a human embryo and now we’re going to celebrate his birth.”
Pope Benedict XVI hosted more than 350 poor people at a post-Christmas luncheon at the Vatican, an event that marked this year’s 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The pope passed among the guests in the crowded atrium of the Vatican audience hall Dec 26, then sat down at a table with 14 others for a three-course meal that featured lasagna, roast veal with potatoes and the classic Italian “pandoro” Christmas cake — this one with melted chocolate and Chantilly cream.
When the pope arrived, the guests placed a garland of white and yellow flowers around his neck, a tradition of India that was adopted by Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity.
Most of the guests were poor people served at soup kitchens run by the Missionaries of Charity in Rome and the surrounding area. Also in attendance were more than 100 sisters and brothers of the religious order, who sang Christmas carols and handed out small gifts.
In a talk after the meal, the pope told the guests that he loved them and prayed for them. He said Mother Teresa’s life was an example of charity in action, with a preference for the poorest and those abandoned by the rest of society.
“To so many men and women living in situations of poverty and suffering, she offered the consolation and the certainty that God does not abandon anyone, ever!” he said in a Catholic News Service report.
The pope thanked the Missionaries of Charity for carrying on her work, and said their actions demonstrated that true joy is found in sharing, giving and loving in a way that “breaks the logic of human selfishness.”
Celebrating Christmas at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in global trouble spots and protection of persecuted Christian minorities in places like China.
At his Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and in his Christmas Day blessing to the world, the pope called the birth of Christ the “culmination of creation” and an event that overcame the “infinite distance between God and man.”
The basilica was packed for the Mass, and an overflow crowd braved intermittent rain and wind to watch the liturgy on giant screens in St. Peter’s Square. Thousands stood under umbrellas for the traditional papal blessing the next day.
Security was tight for both events, in the wake of two package bombings at two Rome embassies. In 2008 and 2009 a mentally disturbed woman sprang at the pope inside the basilica and last year pulled him to the ground briefly, but this year there were no incidents.
The pope stood on the central balcony of the basilica to deliver his blessing “urbi et orbi,” to the city of Rome and to the world. He said Christmas had revealed a truth about the relationship between God and human history. But it is a truth that must be understood by faith, he said.
“If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if truth is love, it calls for faith, for the ‘yes’ of our hearts,” he said.
The birth of Christ is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, because Jesus came to “set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement,” he said.
The pope prayed for peace in the land of Christ’s birth, urging Israelis and Palestinians to work for a just and peaceful coexistence. He expressed the hope that Christmas would ease the pain of the Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, and inspire world leaders to show them support.
“May the birth of the savior strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his church, may keep alive the flame of hope,” he said in a Catholic News Service report.
The pope’s words reflected increasing Vatican concern over a deterioration of church-state relations in China, where an illegitimate bishop was recently elected head of the bishops’ conference and where bishops loyal to the pope were forced to participate in a state-backed “official” congress of Catholic leaders.
The pope asked that the spirit of Christmas would “grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all.”
He also prayed for relief of beleaguered populations in Latin America: in Haiti, which is still suffering from the devastating earthquake and a recent cholera epidemic, and in Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala and Costa Rica, where natural disasters have struck.
The pope urged continued efforts for peace and political stability in Somalia, Darfur, Ivory Coast and Madagascar; reconciliation between North and South Korea; security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which are engaged in a simmering border dispute.
Pope Benedict then offered Christmas greetings in 65 languages, including Chinese, Russian and Arabic. Speaking in English, he said: “May the birth of the Prince of Peace remind the world where its true happiness lies; and may your hearts be filled with hope and joy, for the savior has been born for us.”
At his Mass the night before, which began at 10 p.m. and ended shortly after midnight, the pope said the birth of Christ ushered in a new kingdom on earth, one that contrasts with the “self asserting powers of this world.”
He said the event in Bethlehem brought “the grace of true brotherhood.” He offered this prayer to Jesus: “Help us to recognize your face in others who need our assistance, in those who are suffering or forsaken, in all people, and help us to live together with you as brothers and sisters, so as to become one family, your family.”
Christ came to bring people joy, the pope said, but also to give them strength to “overcome the tyranny of might.”
“This joy is also a prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end. Fulfill the prophecy that ‘of peace there will be no end,’” he said.
Earlier in the evening, the pope lit a candle at his apartment window and looked down on St. Peter’s Square for the official unveiling of the Vatican’s Nativity scene.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, a spiritual reflection prepared by the pope was featured on British radio. In the brief talk, aired on BBC’s “Thought for the Day,” the pope recalled his September trip to England and Scotland.
“I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ,” he said.
“I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI will broadcast a three-minute reflection on British radio on Christmas Eve, the British Broadcasting Corp. has announced.
In a Dec. 22 statement, the BBC said the pope would deliver the “Thought for the Day” at 7:45 a.m. GMT on Radio 4.
“Thought for the Day” is a segment on the “Today” program that consists of a personal reflection on faith by a prominent faith leader. It has run nearly every Monday to Saturday since 1970.
Pope Benedict has personally written his reflection and it was recorded in the Vatican Dec. 22.
The broadcast will represent the first time a pope has contributed to the show and, according to the BBC statement, is also the first time that Pope Benedict has presented material specifically written for a radio or television audience.
Gwyneth Williams, the controller of BBC Radio 4, said, “I’m delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience.
“It’s significant that the pope has chosen ‘Thought for the Day’ to give his first personally scripted broadcast,” she said in the Dec. 22 statement reported by Catholic News Service, “and what better time to do so than on the eve of one of the biggest celebrations on the Christian calendar.”
The contents of the pope’s reflections have not been released, but it has been reported that he will talk about his September visit to Britain and also about the Nativity.
Previous contributors to “Thought for the Day” have included Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, is a Catholic who was educated at Stonyhurst College, an independent Jesuit school in northwest England.
British media reported that Thompson and other BBC officials unsuccessfully tried to persuade Pope Benedict to make a broadcast when he visited England and Scotland Sept. 16-19.
The pope agreed to a Christmas broadcast after David Willey, the BBC’s Rome correspondent, approached Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, with a later request.
With the repeal of the policy that banned gays from serving openly in the armed forces, an auxiliary bishop of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services said Dec. 23 that “there are no changes” to the archdiocese’s ministry “and our response to don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Bishop F. Richard Spencer, who is currently in Iraq, told Catholic News Service in an e-mail: “I have not read what the ‘new’ law requires nor the timeline for implementation and the elements of implementation. I know of no restrictions nor hindrances or challenges to the ministry that we already are providing to all members and their families within the jurisdictional boundaries” of the military archdiocese.
He added that “any additional policy statements will be shared” through the office of Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the archdiocese.
President Barack Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law Dec. 22. It passed the Senate Dec. 18 in a 65 to 31 vote. The House approved it in late May.
There was no immediate reaction to the repeal from the military archdiocese in Washington. Its offices were closed for the holidays and were not scheduled to reopen until Jan. 3.
As of Dec. 23, the archdiocese’s website referred visitors to a June statement from Archbishop Broglio, who had urged Congress not to repeal the 17-year-old policy, saying it had “the potential of being enormous and overwhelming,” and that “nothing should be changed until there is certainty that morale will not suffer.”
The archbishop reiterated church teaching on homosexuality as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. According to the catechism, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” but homosexuals must be “accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
“Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals” in response to “merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war,” he said.
He also said that Catholic military chaplains had expressed concern about the policy’s possible repeal and requested guidance about what to do if it were lifted.
Archbishop Broglio also said that “unions between individuals of the same gender resembling marriage will not be accepted or blessed by Catholic chaplains.” He also noted that in the event of a repeal, “no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted” and that “First Amendment rights regarding the free exercise of religion must be respected.”
Obama called repealing the policy a civil rights triumph and said the implementation should take place within a matter of months.
The 2010 census figures announced Dec. 21 will have effects that go far beyond allocating federal dollars and shaping the representation of states in the Congress that convenes in January 2013.
They could also affect how the U.S. Catholic Church decides to distribute its own resources and personnel.
“The U.S. census is a useful tool for learning about God’s people, who and where they are, and many other facts that shed light on their lives, possibilities and struggles,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez in 2009, encouraging wide participation in the census.
Now coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles, Archbishop Gomez was at that time head of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.
“A church that seeks to evangelize is characterized by outreach,” he added. “The U.S. census gives us important information to do that.”
Required once every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution, the 2010 census showed a U.S. resident population on April 1, 2010, of 308,745,538 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. That represented a 9.7 percent increase over the 2000 resident population of 281,421,906.
The fastest growing U.S. regions were the South, at 14.3 percent, and the West, at 13.8 percent. The Northeast and Midwest regions also grew, but by only 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
Nevada was the state with the largest population growth, at 35.1 percent. But in the 10-year period before that, from 1990 to 2000, it grew by more than 66 percent.
Chief among the reasons for the count every 10 years is to reapportion the 435 House seats in Congress, as required by the Constitution.
Under a complicated formula in place since 1940, each state gets at least one House seat and the remaining seats are assigned according to the resident population of each state, plus the overseas military and federal civilian employees and their dependents allocated to each state. The populations of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are excluded from the apportionment population, because they do not have voting seats in Congress.
Although the specifics of redistricting will be decided by each state’s legislature, the biggest winners in terms of seats gained were Texas, with four additional House seats, and Florida, with two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington state each added a seat.
The biggest losers were Ohio and New York state, which each lost two House seats. Dropping one seat each were Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The initial census data released Dec. 21 contains lots of little factoids that might come up on “Jeopardy” or in the “Trivial Pursuit” games of the future:
– The most populous U.S. states? California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.
– The least populous? Alaska, Delaware, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
– States with the highest population density? New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland. (It’s been the same five for the past 40 years, Groves said.)
– The lowest population density states? Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, unchanged for the past 20 years.
– The fastest growing states? Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Texas.
– The slowest growing? Rhode Island, Louisiana, Ohio and New York. Only Michigan showed a decline in population between 2000 and 2010. It was down 0.6 percent.
In addition, Puerto Rico’s resident population of 3,725,789 represented a 2.2. decrease over the number counted a decade earlier.
But there are many questions that the census figures cannot answer.
The census figures cannot answer any questions about the religious makeup of the U.S.
That’s because the U.S. Census Bureau has been forbidden by law since 1976 from including any mandatory questions about a person’s “religious beliefs or membership in a religious body.”
But Catholic leaders in some dioceses might consider the county-by-county data that will emerge from the 2010 census figures over the next few months as they decide whether to open or close new parishes.
The cardinal of Bosnia-Herzegovina said a local government order that he must move from his residence so it could be turned over to a former communist secret police agent would take effect only “over my dead body.”
Challenging the order by the Sarajevo City Council, Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo and Bosnian church officials called upon the country’s Muslim-dominated government to correct “legalized injustices.” They said the order stems from a 1984 communist-era law which no longer has force.
“This building was always church property. It was never nationalized or taken over by the state,” said Msgr. Ivo Tomasevic, spokesman for the Catholic bishops’ conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina. “It’s (the decision) just one of many legalized injustices which have enabled the majority in power here to make problems for minorities like us.”
The government ruled that the former agent, a woman, was the legal occupier of the cardinal’s residence, which was confiscated and used for anti-Catholic operations under communist rule in the former Yugoslavia.
In a Dec. 21 interview with Catholic News Service, Msgr. Tomasevic said the unnamed woman, whose late husband also worked with the police, was living in Canada and wished to profit from the property rather than live there.
He added that the woman’s lawyer had promised an “amicable solution,” but said no solution had been offered during mid-December government talks on the issue.
“Although this dispute has gained the most publicity, there are many other similar cases in which people have been denied their property entitlements because of this unjust law,” he said.
In its Nov. 17 ruling, the government said Cardinal Puljic’s late-19th century palace, which was taken over under the rule of Yugoslavia’s communist strongman, Josip Tito, could remain in use by the ex-agent, who fled during the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995. Bugging and surveillance equipment in the cardinal’s bedroom and other parts of the building were left behind.
The judgment was angrily condemned as a “blatant violation of law and order” by the 65-year-old cardinal, who said it was “another sign” that Catholics were “”treated as second category citizens” in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Muslim chairman of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Inter-Religious Council, Mufti Husejin Smajic, said he regretted the ruling, adding that he was shocked that Bosnian authorities were “seeking to drive out such a distinguished religious and moral authority as Cardinal Puljic.”
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Catholic population has dwindled since the start of hostilities in 1992 that led to the country’s independence.