2004, Croatia

Religious Legislation in Croatia and the Catholic Church

Religious Legislation in Croatia and the Catholic Church

Davorin Peterlin

Croatia has just received permission to seek entry to the European Union. The aim is to achieve membership in 2007 along with Romania and Bulgaria.

In 1966 a Protocol between the Yugoslav government and the Vatican had a spill-over effect leading to greater freedom for all religions in Yugoslavia. In 1967 Billy Graham held a three-day rally in Zagreb, the first in any communist country, and 1968 saw the first Croatian translation of the Bible done within the country. (Other translations had been done since the seventeenth century, but none in recent history, and all abroad.)

The census of 2001 revealed that the population of Croatia had actually declined over the previous decade. It had also become more homogeneously Catholic: from 76·6 per cent of the population in 1991 to 88 per cent in 2001. The second largest denomination, the Serbian Orthodox, had declined from 7·6 per cent to 4·4 per cent. All other religions remained as very small minorities.

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