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Bulgaria: draft law on religions. Fr. Valov (representing the Catholic Church), “not enough time to propose changes”

The “mens legis” of the draft law on religions is “to introduce restrictions for denominations, one of which concerns the service of foreign priests”. Fr. Petko Valov, representative of the Catholic Church in the working group at the Parliament, said this in an interview with SIR news agency, commenting on the changes envisaged in the new legislation on religions. “Foreigners will not be able to take on leadership roles in the denominations, and the Directorate for Religions should be notified when foreign priests stay in Bulgaria”, the Catholic representative explained. “It is also mandatory to inform the Directorate for Religions of donations received from abroad”. According to Fr. Valov, “this distrust towards foreigners is contrary to the spirit of the Sacred Scripture that we know from the Letters of St Paul”. The draft law was adopted at first reading on 11 October, and after two meetings between MPs and representatives of religious denominations, amendments to the text were submitted on 16 November. Last week, another meeting took place to discuss the issue with the president of Bulgaria’s ruling GERB party Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who met with some Catholic and foreign priests and religious in the town of Rakovski. “We value the authorities’ willingness for dialogue”, Fr. Valov said, but we believe “there is not enough time to submit comments on the amendments”.

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