Protest against the transfer of the Sorbian chaplain Dr. Jens Buliš outside the Sorbian settlement area
We have heard with disappointment and incomprehension the intention of the management of the diocese of Dresden - Meißen to withdraw the Sorbian chaplain Dr. Jens Buliš from the Sorbian Catholic parish in Ostro and to assign him outside the Sorbian settlement area. We share the publicly expressed concern of many affected parishioners that the transfer of Chaplain Dr. Buliš will worsen Sorbian-language pastoral care and proclamation of the Christian message in the mother tongue. One of the most important language areas of the - according to UNESCO endangered - Sorbian language would be called into question; especially since there seems to be no Sorbian-speaking replacement for Chaplain Dr. Buliš. We therefore expect the leadership of the diocese of Dresden - Meißen to be guided in its decision by sensitivity and a sense of responsibility for the special linguistic needs of the Sorbian faithful.
Furthermore, we expect the responsible persons of the Catholic Church in Saxony to be faithful to the contract with regard to the obligation entered into in Article 10 of the treaty between the Holy See and the Free State of Saxony to "care for Sorbian concerns." For the question arises how the wording of Article 10 - "The Catholic Church will preserve and protect the Catholic Sorbian cultural assets." - be filled with life if Sorbian clergy are not available for the Sorbian faithful in their parishes or are withdrawn from these parishes.
We expect the Free State of Saxony, as the second contracting party, to encourage the Catholic Church to be faithful to the contract, to support it within the scope of its possibilities (Article 10, Sentence 2) and to make use of the instrument regulated in Article 2 to invite the bishop to a discussion on "questions which are of particular importance to both sides". In our view, the case of the chaplain Dr. Buliš represents such a question of special importance because of its direct impact on the care of Sorbian concerns - and not only in the parish of Ostro.
The historical context also speaks for this. In the past, there have repeatedly been disastrous personnel decisions to the detriment of the care of Sorbian affairs in the individual parishes. The most prominent example is the fate of Jakub Bart-Ćišinski, a devoted pastor and at the same time an outstanding Sorbian writer and journalist, who was denied employment as a clergyman in a Sorbian parish by the church authorities for almost two decades over 120 years ago. The most recent example so far was the young clergyman Tomasz Dawidowski, who 12 years ago was transferred against his will from a Sorbian parish - also at that time it was about Ostro. During the Nazi regime, the Episcopal Ordinariate submitted to the pressure of the rulers and transferred all Sorbian clergy to German parishes.
In order to shape the future of the Catholic Church in Sorbian Lusatia, it is necessary to learn from the mistakes of the past and not to repeat them. Religiosity and nationality are mutually supportive among the Catholic Sorbs. The upcoming dialogue to secure the future of the Catholic Church in the Sorbian settlement area must be based on this realisation. The members of the Serbski Sejm were asked for support by the faithful from Ostro and are of course available as dialogue partners.