Croatia: Fundraising For LaudatoTV – For Christian Values In Public Arena

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Charity is love! Part of our duty as citizens is to contribute to the wellbeing of values that define our nation of people. The morals and values I choose are those of Christianity. That is why I have commenced a fundraiser this month for Croatia’s LaudatoTV that is in need of our help and I hope some of you will join me in this wonderful cause; link to which is at the end part of this article! Your help is needed. Thank you!

As I write this article Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, has dawned here, where I live. It is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It marks the week that leads to Christ’s suffering for us, to save us, to His death, and resurrection. 

It is often asked: Why did Jesus go into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday? An answer that stands out for me is that Jesus went up to Jerusalem to make twin demonstrations, first against Roman imperial control over the City of Peace and, second, against Roman imperial control over the Temple of God. In other words, put personally, against the (sub)governor Pilate and his high-priest Caiaphas.

The days of Lent, that precede His resurrection, are associated with sacrifice; prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Almsgiving is more than handing out money; it is about the universal destination of goods, a term used in Catholic social teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “the goods of creation are destined for the entire human race” 

Far from being a sort of socialist or communist mantra, this is a reminder of our responsibility to our fellow people in the truest sense of “caritas,” or charity. Giving alms to the needy people and causes is a witness to fraternal charity: It is also a work of justice pleasing to God.

It is no wonder that charitable giving and charitable, volunteering work, have for centuries been the backbone of togetherness and collective hearts that make societies a good place to live in. Charitable giving lends itself to feelings of contribution and, hence, pride. We are not doing this because we will receive something ourselves; we do it for love of our neighbour, our nation, human race, and to fulfill the command of our Lord.

This has brought me to repeated contemplation upon how such Christian values were downtrodden during the times of communist/socialist former Yugoslavia to which Croatia used to belong, albeit largely unwillingly. Legal separation of church and state declared religion the private affair of every citizen. This had the effect of relegating religion (Christianity) out of the public sphere into the private spiritual domain of individuals but also led to practicing Christians being publicly degraded and considered not worthy of key positions in government and society. Religious liberty was understood narrowly as the freedom to worship or not to worship but that freedom did not exist in reality. People were overwhelmingly too afraid to publicly express their faith, Christian values that should serve as life-guides. The task of the Marxist party as the vanguard of the working classes was to enforce that what it considered the inevitable fading away of religion, and Christian practices. In communist Yugoslavia there was a deliberate policy of the state against truly free religious or Christian affairs. In fact, it thwarted them in any which way it could.

While the marvellous victory of the 1990’s Croatian Homeland War ushered Croatia out of the unwanted Yugoslav communist reality, the same unwanted reality continued, festered for some years until from year 2000 those who did not fight for Croatia’s independence, those who did not bleed for a democratic Croatia, those who were part of the Yugoslav “moral” army that shunned Christianity, began taking up key positions in government and public institutions even though a welcome rise of religious practices was very visible. This meant, and means, that Christian values, religion has still not reached the level of public presence hoped for, fought for.

Public television, mainstream media and the like had sadly not changed with the victory over communist regime; they largely retained the political profile that was in former communist Yugoslavia – far away from upholding patriotic and Christian values.  

For me personally, and I am sure for many others, Christmas season of 2015 marked a most significant step forward in public media promotion of Christian values in Croatia. Laudato TV broadcasted its maiden shows. It was and remains the first in history of Croatia television station promoting and upholding Christian values in all walks of life. Its start and ongoing pursuits come as tribute to people and associations and institutions whose goodness expressed through charitable giving makes it possible to bring Christian values into the public domain via media sources that define the modern world. Croatian government, regretfully, had failed miserably to give Laudato TV, or any similar pursuits that bring Christian values into the public arena, access to all people, not just those that practice religion. National televised broadcasting of these values was not a cause Croatian politicians and mainstream media controllers would pursue or assist with. It appeared, and appears, more important to them to support the media that carry a torch for the failed experiment that communist/socialist Yugoslavia was. Laudato TV is currently left with a number of regional studios/coverage for its programs, cable, and, of course, online.

One could well ask: is relative absence today of proper reporting on religion, of Christian values, a serious problem? Absolutely it is. Religion deserves much better than that. Religion has an enormous influence on society and its institutions: think of schools, social welfare, universities and, above all, values. Most intelligent people can see that its global importance has, if anything, increased in recent decades and particularly so with apparent anti-Christian pursuits that seem to fill the media and cause those practicing Christian values to feel less valuable than what they are or have been in the shaping of life we know. Intelligent people see that reporting on and with Christian values can be a tremendous force for good or ill. It is far too important to ignore or not give a helping hand to.

I myself have at this time decided to give a helping hand to Croatia’s Laudato TV, to help it survive the enormous task of moving premises in the coming weeks as its lease for current premises in Zagreb contract was cut short, almost suddenly. The moving bill will be enormous, almost prohibitive. It depends much on the goodness of people and their giving and donating.

I have decided at this to start a GoFundMe campaign “Help LaudatoTV Survive” so that the donations received, that are directed to the charitable association “The Name of Goodness” (Udruga Ime dobrote), incorporated in Croatia in 2013 with view to supporting LaudatoTV, to at least try and help pay for a few removalist trucks, if nothing more, so that LaudatoTV can move its studios and operations to its new location in Zagreb with that much lesser burden.

I do trust that many of you will see the enormous significance for Croatian identity as a nation LaudatoTV has and that some of you will donate some funds to this fundraiser. It can be reached via this link: GoFundMe/Help LaudatoTV Survive.

In these times when mainstream media is more about misinformation than information; when mainstream media thrives on sensationalism and shock-provocation; when mainstream media challenges our basic traditions and beliefs with discomfort borne in the unknown and new, we might pray for the people who report and edit the news. We could pray that journalists and editors be strengthened in their dedication to truth and fearless in their quest for it. We might pray too that we might be more sensitive and discriminating hearers of the news, and more dedicated witnesses of the “good news” of Christ. The news is more than a record of far-off events, it springs also out of our daily world of home and work and we are makers of news as well as hearers. The news we bear, of God’s love for us and all people, may not reach the headlines but it can enter and change the lives of the women and men we encounter each day.

Christian discernment in a mass-mediated culture brings together a critical awareness, communicative action and a contemplative spirit. The mass media will not make us gloomy and pessimistic, world-weary and cynical, because we shall be able to discern what is valuable and life giving in what they communicate. We shall strive to be realistic, but always remain hopeful of our culture. The contemplative spirit will fill us with that clear-seeing love and reverence for our culture and for other people that will inform our communication and so help us bring another part of our individual and corporate lives under the standard of Christ. And that is why I support LaudatoTV and its endeavours to reach more and more homes in Croatia, even those whose values were cemented by the communist mindset of former Yugoslavia, which has only brough despair and exodus from homeland to more people (and their offspring) than what Croatia’s current population is today.

Thank you all on your support!

Ina Vukic

Comments

  1. This sounds a positive channel, that seems under threat… And yes I do believe if Jesus were here today, he would be marching holding up a banner…
    I hope funds are secured to help with this massive move.. <3

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