Qellimet e Vatikanit per ungjillizimin e Kosoves
The Vatican Purposes to Evangelize Kosovo
April 2, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com
The Roman Catholic bishop of Kosovo believes that Kosovo's Muslims need a "cultural baptism" into Catholicism. How is the Vatican influencing events in the Balkans? By Andrew Miiller
The majority of Kosovo's population may be Islamic, but that is not stopping the Vatican from launching a full-scale evangelistic campaign there. Pope Benedict xvi has called for Europe to return to its Catholic roots, and Dode Gjergji—Kosovo's Roman Catholic bishop—is doing all he can to convert Kosovo's Muslims.
Both Kosovo and Albania have Catholic roots almost as deep as Rome itself. The Roman province of Illyria on the Balkan Peninsula was one of the first territories to which Catholicism spread. It all changed after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the 14th century, however. Under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, the majority of Albanians converted to Islam.
This history was on Gjergji's mind as he spoke recently before a gathering of European Democratic Party officials in Brussels. In this speech, Gjergji called the Kosovo Albanians Islamized Catholics who were converted only because of Ottoman terror. Now, as Kosovo is increasingly looking to the European Union and the Vatican for support against Serbia, Gjergji says there is a need for a "cultural baptism" in Kosovo.
As the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network put it:
Far from being marginalized—as is the story in so many mainly Muslim societies—in Kosovo the small Catholic minority has seen a resurgence in its fortunes as Kosovars of all faiths look to Europe to resolve their political destiny. …
Since nato drove Serbian forces from Kosovo in 1999, Catholics have increasingly emerged from the sidelines in Kosovo.
As Gjergji presses forward with his missionary activities, he is also devoting considerable effort to supporting the construction of a major Catholic cathedral in Pristina. This cathedral—which is being built with the support of Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu—has been hailed by the New Kosova Report as a symbol of the Vatican's attempts at "cultural baptism."
Gjergji was appointed as bishop of the Albanian Sape Diocese by Pope Benedict xvi before he was transferred to Kosovo. Vatican involvement in Kosovo, however, runs a lot deeper than the pope's relationship with Gjergji. Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu met with Benedict himself in the Vatican on February 2. This visit was reminiscent of the long-standing relationship between former Kosovar President Ibrahim Rugova and Pope John Paul ii.
It makes sense that Kosovar leadership would want a relationship with the Vatican. The Vatican was one of the first states to recognize both Croatia and Slovenia when they broke away from Yugoslavia back in the early 1990s. Kosovo also would like Vatican support for its independence—but the Vatican does not give its support for nothing.
Both Croatia and Slovenia were Catholic entities trying to break away from an Eastern Orthodox-dominated Yugoslavia. Kosovo is primarily Islamic. Because of this, Pope Benedict has been more low-key in his support for Kosovo. He still offered symbolic support by meeting with the Kosovar president, but for now he is holding off on official recognition while he has Gjergji sow the seeds of "cultural baptism."
As Gjergji said, the Vatican is "very influential in the province [of Kosovo], and not just among Catholics."
As the European Union continues to annex the Balkans, the Roman Catholic Church will be working to give areas like Kosovo their European ID card—Roman Catholicism. Of course, it is going to take a lot more than "seeds" for the Vatican to make much of a dent in an area that is still almost completely Islamic, but the process has been started. Five Islamic terrorists were arrested in Bosnia on March 20 on grounds that they were planning to bomb Catholic churches, among other alleged targets. As the Vatican's evangelical campaign builds speed, events like this could become more and more frequent throughout the Balkans—Kosovo included.
For more information on the Vatican's involvement in the Balkans, read Germany and the Holy Roman Empire and the The Rising Beast—Germany's Conquest of the Balkans. •
The Vatican Purposes to Evangelize Kosovo | theTrumpet.com
"Islami është si diell, atë nuk mund ta shuash me frymë; është si dita, ti duke i mbyllur sytë ndaj saj nuk mund të bësh natë, ai që i mbyll sytë vetëm për vetën e tij e ka bërë natë."