Establish a dialogue and find a fair electoral system

82nd regular session of the BK BiH

Members of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina held their 82nd regular session on November 4th and 5th in the premises of the Archbishop’s Residence in Sarajevo.

The Archbishop of Vrhbosna and the president of the BK BiH cardinal Vinko Puljić presided, and members who participated were: Archbishop Coadjutor of Vrhbosna and Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate in BiH, Msgr. Tomo Vukšić, Bishop of Banja Luka, Msgr. Franjo Komarica, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and Apostolic Administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan Msgr. Petar Palić. Also present were: the delegate of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference (HBK), Bishop Msgr. Milan Stipić and the delegate of the International Bishops’ Conference of St. Cyril and Methodius Bishop of Kotor Msgr. Ivan Štironja.

In the working part of the session, the bishops heard reports from their delegates: from the plenary session of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) held in Rome from 23rd to 26th September; from the 63rd plenary session of the CBC held from 19th to 21st October in Zagreb and from the 19th Assembly of the Conference of Senior Religious Leaders in BiH from September 4th in Međugorje. They referred to the meeting with the professors of the KBF in Sarajevo and with the educators of the theological community and agreed that the meeting of the members of the BK BiH with the professors and educators would be held every year on the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius, July 5th.

The Rulebook on Conflict of Interest and the Rulebook on Safe Employment of Caritas BiH were approved.

Furthermore, special attention was paid to the first and second stages of the synodal walk in diocesan communities and at the level of episcopal conferences envisaged in preparation for the XVI Regular Synod of Bishops in Rome 2023 on the topic: For the Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. Following this, the bishops were informed about the final process of the First Synod of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese, which will be closed on December 8th. They were also acquainted in detail with the launch of the first stage of the synodal path in other diocesan communities in BiH in accordance with church guidelines, as well as with the final preparations for the Deacon's Pastoral Year for deacons of all archdioceses and religious provinces in BiH.

It was decided that the translation of the Lauretan litanies and the litanies of St. Joseph in the organization of HBK is also valid for the area of BK BiH.

In reference to the political situation in BiH, the bishops expressed their concern over the irresponsible behavior and reckless statements of certain political representatives, which by their actions provoke a feeling of insecurity and fear in people. All those who, as elected representatives, participate in government and make decisions, call on bishops to refrain from harsh words and insults and to respect the individual and collective rights of people, constituent peoples and minority groups. They also expect to find a fair electoral system and point out that dialogue is the only morally acceptable way to follow in the negotiations.

In the end, the following session dates were agreed, as follows: March 18th and 19th 2022 in Mostar; 13th and 14th July 2022 in Banja Luka and 4th and 5th November in Sarajevo. It was also agreed that IX Interdeacon Meeting in BiH will be held on April 28th 2022 at the Petar Barbarić Archdiocesan Seminary in Travnik, the Family Day in BiH on July 31st 2022 in Kupres and the Meeting of Priests in BiH on June 1st 2022 in the Banja Luka Diocese.

Also, in the evening, on November 3rd, members of the BK BiH in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the eve of their 82nd regular session, they celebrated the Eucharist. The Holy Mass was led by Cardinal Puljić, and preached by Msgr. Štironja. On Thursday, November 4th, the bishops celebrated Holy Mass in the chapel of the Vrhbosna Theological Seminary and met with the theological community. It was led by the Cardinal, and the appropriate sermon was given by Bishop Stipić.

Press conference

The session of the BK BiH ended with a press conference held on November 5th at the Archbishop’s residence. At the beginning, the Secretary of the BK BiH, Msgr. Ivo Tomašević read the press release, and Cardinal Puljić and Msgr. Vukšić gave their review of the session.

“I am glad that we in our archdiocese managed to organize the Episcopal Synod. The working meeting is almost over, we still have the document we prepared to vote on November 20th and after that it will be announced, we’re hoping, on December 8th“, said the Cardinal, and Archbishop Tomo explained the concepts of synodality, deacon and propaedeutic year of priests .

Representatives of the media, asked Cardinal, among other things, to comment on the return of properties, which was also mentioned at the session, and the cardinal replied that the process has been blocked for more than 20 years, while the property is resold and transferred to other owners. "It is very distasteful that we are now returning our property with a lawsuit, and when we ask what to do about it, they answer us exactly that: sue”, the cardinal replied.