Cardinal Secretary of State visited Croatia’s capital Zagreb from 29 to 31 October. While in Zagreb, Cardinal Parolin held meetings with Croatian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, representatives of religious communities, Prime Minister and the President.
When speaking with Croatia’s bishops at the begining of his visit, His Eminence said “Croatia has a Christian identity whose roots are deep in the past. Christianity is a structural element of Croatian society in its not only religious but also educational and cultural dimension, where the Church has found a significant area of evangelization. In accordance with its identity, the Croatian people have always shown undebatable fidelity to the Apostolic See”.
The main reason of Parolin’s visit to Croatia was the opening of Aula Magna of the Croatian Catholic University on 30 October. During the introductory speech His Eminence pointed out that the university can be proud of bearing the title ‘Catholic’: “It entrusts you with one special dignifying calling: to maintain alive the values and ideals of the Gospel and to continue to permeate the cultural heritage of the nation with [Catholic] values”.
After the blessing of the Aula, Cardinal Parolin had given a lectio magistralis entitled Fight against poverty, building of peace, search for dialogue: international relations in magisterium of Pope Francis (full text in Croatian). “Looking at the essence of Pope Francis’ magisterium, we notice two fundamental questions to which the Pope gives answers: Are there elements of novelty which the Church and her activity face in international community? Are the guidelines, that originate from Church magisterium, capable of coping with international context and interpersonal relations amongst its protagonists?”, His Eminence said. “It is not enough to find a new language in which to articulate our perennial faith; it is also urgent, in the light of the new challenges and prospects facing humanity, that the Church can be able to express the “new things” of Christ’s Gospel, that, albeit present in the word of God, have not yet come to light”, Parolin quotes the Holy Father, adding that it is important to overcome the pragmatism of today. “Therefore it is necessary to bring back the foundations of the international life, but from below or, in other words, starting with the relationship between the persons, which is the focal point of every action”, he continued.
“To Pope Francis, the protagonists of the international relations have to face reality [of poverty], with critical but constructive approach. The end goal should not be exclusion because ‘exclusion strikes, in its roots, belonging to the society in which they live, because those who are excluded do not become just alone second-class citizens, the lower layer, the people on the periphery, discouraged, but they are no longer its part'” he said speaking of Pope’s view on poverty while on Pontiff’s vision of peace he said: “The Pope’s’s vision shows that the idea of peace presupposes an international order firmly rooted in the purpose of an organized coexistence among peoples, which requires firstly to prevent the causes that may cause war”.
After the visit to the Croatian Catholic University, Secretary of State held a press conference where he was, among other things, asked about the canonization of Cardinal Stepinac and Medjugorje (source in English). “Cardinal Stepinac was a defender of the truth, to which he not only bore witness with his words and teachings, but for which he also gave his life. Therefore, we are pleased to state that his sanctity has already been confirmed by the process of beatification. The Catholic faithful in Croatia may venerate Stepinac as a beatus, invoke him as a friend of God and view him as a model and witness in our time, which is different from when he had to confront the three totalitarianism”, said Parolin.
Answering a question on Medjugorje, he said: “Yesterday, when I was travelling from Rome to Croatia via Split, I met a large group of pilgrims from Argentina who were going to Medjugorje. I have recently spoken with people who have testified to the great interest in Medjugorje. I am aware that a large encounter of young people was held there this summer. You know that a commission was established to study this phenomenon. The commission submitted its conclusions to the Holy Father. Naturally, in addition to the issue of considering the supernatural character of the events in Medjugorje, there is also the entire issue related to pastoral ministry there, which is what interests us the most at the moment because many people make pilgrimages to Medjugorje. Thus, it is the desire of the Holy See to help regulate this phenomenon so that the faithful who go there can better listen to the Word of God, celebrate the sacraments and have an authentic experience of faith. Therefore, Msgr. Hoser recently went to Medjugorje, with the task of gathering information and reporting on the situation to the Holy See, in order to respond to the challenges of pastoral ministry and enable us to discuss what the next step in this regard should be”.
In the evening, the Cardinal celebrated mass at Zagreb cathedral where he prayed at the tomb of the Blessed Cardinal Stepinac.