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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 23:14 GMT 00:14 UK
Croatia clergy in drink curbs row
Drinking wine is a key part of Holy Communion
Croatia's Catholic priests are seeking compensation after the introduction of a new zero-tolerance drink driving law, a local newspaper says.

The priests want $12 million a year to hire chauffeurs as they can no longer drive between churches where they must sip wine, the Jutarnji List said.

"During holy mass we need to drink wine as a symbol of the blood of Christ," one of the priests told the newspaper.

"We want to obey the law... We would like to have private drivers," he said.

"Some priests have many services a day and these are often in different parishes, so they need to use a car to get around. If they can't drive themselves, someone else has to do it," the priest added.

Some 2,000 priests in the strongly Roman Catholic country said they each wanted a driver for five hours a day, the newspaper said.

In August, Croatia reduced the 0.05% limit for blood-alcohol content to zero in an effort to improve road safety.

The measure was introduced despite protests from both the Catholic Church and also the tourist industry.


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