ALBANIA: MGR. MIRDITA (CEA), "THE CHURCH HAS RISEN AGAIN FROM THE DUST"

"The Church has risen again from the dust". This is the image that mgr. Rrok Mirdita, archbishop of Tirana–Durrës and president of the Albanian Bishops Conference (Cea), uses to describe the current condition of the Catholic community in the country. In an interview with SIR Europa (on line on Agensir.it – SIR Europe), mgr. Mirdita tells the fifty years of fierce repression wrought by the Communist regime, which tried to eradicate faith completely by arresting, torturing and killing Catholic priests and lay people, destroying churches and icons, burning holy books, banning any display of cult. In those years, the archbishop tells, "the Catholic Church was not only persecuted and oppressed, it was completely annihilated. Just think that the Catholic clergy, almost all of them, disappeared: many priests were shot down, others deported to forced labour camps and prisons, some of them survived but with serious consequences". According to mgr. Mirdita, "it is a miracle that the Church has managed to overcome that savage and systematic persecution that ultimately aimed at eradicating any Christian symbol, even the Catholic culture itself". Now, he goes on, the Church, "with the help of its sister Churches and several donors, especially the Italian Bishops Conference, has risen again from the dust". (continued)

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