Monday, July 21, 2008

Georgian Catholics cite 'growing hardship' from Orthodox pressure

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A Catholic priest in Georgia has warned of growing hostility toward the Catholic Church. "There's no problem going to church and taking part in services. The hardship starts when a Catholic wants to function normally in social life," said Father Maciej Mamaj, a Polish priest in Georgia's northern Meskhetia region. "Non-Orthodox pupils and students feel stressed and discriminated against, while those who work are often pressured to become Orthodox and told they must if they want jobs," he told Poland's Catholic information agency, KAI, June 23. "A climate of hostility to Catholicism reigns in society, where the local nationalism supposes every Georgian should be Orthodox." The priest said young Georgians routinely were warned not to befriend Catholics or enter Catholic churches. He also said anti-Catholic remarks were common on radio and television.