Religious intolerance

Georgian Catholic Church Property Vandalized in Rustavi

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რუსთავის კათოლიკური საკრებულო Photo: ტაბულა

The words “Stop Juzepe”, have been painted onto the door of a courtyard owned by the Georgian Catholic Church in the southern city of Rustavi about six weeks ago . The message is believed to have been  directed towards Giuseppe Passoto, the Bishop of the Georgian Catholic Church. In the early December, Catholics opened The Holy door, which, according to catholic tradition symbolizes God’s mercy.

The incident took place after The Georgian Catholic Church received permission from the Rustavi City Court to build a church on the site on June 6.  However Rustavi’s City Hall is seeking to have the decision overturned in the Tbilisi Court of Appeals. It took local catholics several years before they received the city court’s permission to build the church.

“It is possible that this action is an attempt to pressurize the catholic church. We can not prove who did this, we know that the message on the door appeared about six weeks ago. We can’t exclude anything”. -The Chancellor of the Catholic Church in Georgia, Akaki Chelidze told Tabula

“Such attacks on the church offends our feelings, but when someone violates the shrine of human conscience, it is much more important” - said Father Akaki Chelidze.

An official representative of the Catholic Church in Georgia has accused the Rustavi City Hall of being intolerant in appealing to the higher court in Tbilisi to prevent the construction of the church:

“Their actions are a clear expression of deep intolerance towards the Catholic Church. It is sad that this happened before the Pope’s visit to Georgia. We were once again told that it would be better if the Catholic Church in Georgia did not exist at all”, added father Akaki Chelidze.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Georgia on September 30th

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