Pope to Appoint New Zagreb Archbishop?

By 25 July 2018

Major changes are allegedly coming to the Catholic Church in Croatia.

Pope will replace Cardinal Bozanić and appoint Bishop Dražen Kutleša as the new Archbishop of Zagreb, according to the Globus weekly, reports Jutarnji List on July 25, 2018.

Zdravko Milinović, the editor-in-chief of the leading Croatian political weekly, writes that the Vatican has already decided to remove Cardinal Bozanić from the office of the Archbishop of Zagreb. “They will announce it when it suits them, but certainly before the end of this year. The process of his dismissal has been started, and it can end with retirement, since cardinals cannot be officially dismissed,” writes Milinović, adding that Bozanić’s likely successor is Dražen Kutleša, the Bishop of Poreč and Pula.

The changes in relationships between the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Croatia have been confirmed by several distinguished priests, who are well informed about the situation at the Vatican. They say that the final decision has not been made, but the church circles in Zagreb are talking about the change. “There is only one problem, and that is when a person is announced in advance to become a bishop, the Vatican then often decides not to appoint that person. It would be shame if this were to happen with Bishop Kutleša since he is such a remarkable man,” said a source from Kaptol, the seat of the Catholic Church in Croatia.

Many others also praised the Bishop of Pula and Poreč, who was the young Croatian bishop when he was appointed. He studied in Rome with the present-day Bishop of Dubrovnik Mate Uzinić, and for years he was an important player for the Vatican hierarchy. “He was appointed as head of the Commission for Relations with the State. Since it is customary for this politically extremely important job to be held by the first man of the Church in Croatia, the Archbishop of Zagreb, and not a provincial bishop, it was clear then that Bozanić will be replaced by Kutleša.”

It is no secret that Pope Francis is not pleased with the way in the Church in Croatia is led, primarily due to conservative bishops who often compromise the Church. With the retirement of some of the older bishops, the Pope was able to appoint those who are the opposite of the old generation. “Bozanić's time has passed and the change in the leadership of the Church in Croatia was only a matter of time. The relationship between the liberal policies pursued by Pope Francis and the conservative majority in the Croatian Bishops’ Conference almost did not exist,” writes Milinović.

It is well-known that Cardinal Bozanić wanted to take over an important post within the Vatican. However, this has not happened. The new trends promoted by Pope Francis are coming to the Croatian Church as well, despite the fact that some bishops are not delighted with Pope's moves. “We have to wait and see, because you never known with the Vatican. Surprises are always possible, even when it seems that everything has been resolved,” said a Kaptol source.

Translated from Jutarnji List.