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Croatia: Opposition parties oppose church co-financing in Bethlehem

Croatia’s Social Democratic Party has criticized the government’s decision to co-finance the construction of a Bethlehem chapel with HRK 3.3m, urging it to use the money to rebuild homes in the Banija quake-hit region, while the GLAS party called the decision scandalous. .

“At a time when the health care system is under strain, when post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb and Banija is late and people lack the basic conditions for a normal life, our foreign minister considers funding the Church a priority,” the political secretary of SDP and MP Mirela Ahmetović said in a statement.

Urging the government to use the money earmarked for the chapel to rebuild a dozen houses in Banija or to buy expensive medicines for children suffering from rare diseases, Ahmetovic noted that the Catholic Church receives about HRK 300m from the budget. of the state per year plus donations from local government units.

Another opposition party, GLAS, described the government’s decision as scandalous, noting that Croatia did not have a sufficient number of radiation therapy machines, which is why some cancer patients had to wait up to three months for therapy. .

“Andrej Plenkovi Qever’s government has always chosen its priorities wisely, including this time. “Their clients and the Church that brings the votes come first, and if something remains, the citizens get what they really need,” the party said in a statement.

GLAS MP Anka Mrak-Taritaš proposed to parliament that the government buy three new radiation therapy machines, one costing 5m kroner.

Earlier in the day, the government decided to allocate 3,375m kuna (€ 450,000) for the construction of a Croatian chapel in Bethlehem and thus approved a request made by conventional Franciscans in Zagreb.

The church will be built at Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem to honor Croatian saints and blessed Croats.

Monsignor Sandro Tomašević, a clergyman in the East Basilica of Bethlehem, told Hina that he was happy with the government’s decision and described Croatia’s plan to build the chapel as one of the six nations that would do so in Bethlehem as a success. great.

“Thing is a great thing for the whole homeland, especially for our believers and pilgrims,” ​​the priest said.

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