.- As Romania prepares to join the European Union (EU), Bishop Virgil Bercea of Oradea, Romania, is asking local authorities to demand that the federal government return properties belonging to the Catholic Church that were confiscated during decades of Communism.
“Although Communism collapsed 14 years ago,” said the bishop, “and although we have followed all of the requirements to recover our property, the Romanian state is not the least concerned with resolving the problem.
“Our Church continues to face pressure and discrimination in administrative matters both at the state and local levels. We suffer intimidation, violence and injustice,” said Bishop Bercea said in a March 5th letter to EU officials.
Although the Catholic Church in Romania was granted legal status in 1990, it continues to endure constant coercion.
According to “El Semanal Digital,” the Catholic Church is also under pressure from the Orthodox. In Romania, as well as in other Eastern European countries that were behind the Iron Curtain, religious resurgence has been met with distrust by those who fear it might endanger the country’s Orthodox identity.
Much of the confiscated Church properties mentioned by Bishop Bercea are under State control. Nevertheless, they are currently being occupied by Orthodox communities.