Conducting a mass in the shrine of Ludbreg on Sunday, Sisak Bishop Vlado Kosic recalled the sacrifice of Croatian veterans for the country's freedom, underlining, in the context of early parliamentary elections set for September 11, that believers have principles and that they should not vote for those who use political power to turn the Croatian society into a society of atheists.

A large part of Kosic's sermon was dedicated to principles Christians should bear in mind when casting their ballots and to who they should not vote for.

"For a number of decades we lived in a society that trampled on human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of religion. It is therefore clear that we must not support those who continue to humiliate us and our faith today, but rather those who respect believers, the Church and its mission," Kosic told pilgrims who gathered for the mass marking the end of the Ludbreg Holy Sunday, a traditional religious event in that town around 100 kilometres northeast of Zagreb.

He noted that atheisation of society was occurring in some areas and in that context mentioned health education, which, he said, had been imposed in schools contrary to the will of parents and the Church.

Citing the principles believers should follow, Kosic mentioned morality and the need for those active in public life to abide by that principle.

Warning about the importance of the principle of truth, he said that "the truth is only one."

A religious person cannot vote for politicians who are unwilling to acknowledge the truth about crimes against their own people, committed in the not so distant past, said Kosic.

"When I attended an exhibition, a mass and a conference on the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in Brussels in June this year, I wondered why at that important event, where the truth about our Croatian saint was promoted... only half of Croatian members of the European Parliament were present. There were no Croatian Europarliamentarians from the ranks of the political left. None. Does not that speak volumes about them?," Kosic said in his sermon, among other things.

"As for the negation of the greatest suffering of our people, Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross - let us remember how four years ago the parliamentary sponsorship of that gravest Croatian tragedy was abolished, and how it was re-introduced by the new parliament this year."

The truth about the Homeland War is another criterion for identifying the true fighters for the Croatian people, said Kosic.

"The Croatian people cannot be led by someone who denies the truth about that war being a defensive war, a just war, both in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina," said the bishop, adding that the principle of fairness was evidenced also by the attitude to war veterans.

In his sermon, Kosic also mentioned a law dubbed Lex Perkovic concerning the European Arrest Warrant, adopted by the Zoran Milanovic government.

"Should those who protected the worst killers and perpetrators of grave crimes against Croatian patriots return to power?," was one of the many questions Kosic asked during the sermon.

As for the issue of marriage and family, Kosic said that a Croatian Catholic could not support politicians who a year ago were against amending the Croatian Constitution to make it state that marriage is a union of man and woman.

Speaking about corruption, he said that many politicians from all Croatian governments so far had fallen prey to corruption, notably in recent years. Catholics must not vote for people who sell national interests for their own benefit, he stressed.

At the end of his sermon, he underlined the crucial importance of demographic revival.

Attending the mass at Ludbreg were dozens of thousands of believers, including the most senior state officials such as caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner.

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