Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Will Croatia-Vatican Treaties Be Revised?

ZAGREB, February 6, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Wednesday she was not for revising the Croatia-Vatican treaties. A revision could set dangerous precedents in international law, unless both parties have decided that a revision should be made for certain practical reasons, she told reporters in Sisak before attending a prayer meeting.

The president said this was her first prayer meeting in Croatia and that she had attended many in the US. She said her address at the meeting would focus on the role of women in politics and the Church, adding that faith was "an important component of my life and a sort of moral compass."

"That's why I'll talk about the role of faith in the life of politicians and about ecumenical dialogue, which can be an example to us politicians of how to resolve issues through dialogue," the president said.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardić said in parliament on Wednesday that for Croatia to become a modern and progressive country, it needed to revise its agreements with the Holy See, adding that there was a need for a clearly defined model under which the Church receives money from the state budget.

"It is unacceptable that that model is currently determined by the number of parishes, which encourages the Church to establish new parishes even though there is no real need for that, given that the country's population, including the number of believers, has been decreasing," Bernardić said.

The Church should submit reports on how it spends the hundreds of millions of kuna of budget funds, the SDP leader said.

"The Church definitely needs help, but politicians should not be giving away budget money as they find suitable and to the religious communities of their liking. If someone is a believer, they should contribute to the Church from their own salary and pension, as is the case in Germany," Bernardić said.

The purpose of the SDP-sponsored motion to change the Treaties with the Holy See is to prevent discrimination against children based on religion, save money, make church spending transparent and ensure adequate payment for Sunday work, Bernardić said.

Commenting on a recent statement by the Bishop of Hvar, Petar Palić, about a growing religious illiteracy of young generations and his claim that "unlike in the apostolic times, when paganism was something outside of and opposed to religious communities, nowadays secularism has entered families and become a part of our lives."

"It is wrong to equate secularism with atheism because secularism does not mean a lack of or a ban on religion. Quite the contrary, a precondition for secularism is the existence of freedom of conscience and religion, the right to belong to a religious community, the right to change or leave a religious community, as well as the right not to believe and not to belong to any religious community," said Bernardić.

He also said that Religious Education in schools must be reorganised in such a way to make it the first or the last period so that children not attending RE classes are not discriminated against. "But, ultimately, we believe that religious education belongs to the church and not the school," he added.

Bernardić added that given that Sunday work could not be banned, the reason being that Croatia is a tourist country, it should be better regulated and adequately paid for.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Vatican can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Pope Francis Names Croatian as New Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast

ZAGREB, February 2, 2019 - Priest Ante Jozić of the Archdiocese of Split and Makarska has been named archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire by Pope francis, the press office of the Holy See reported on Saturday.

Ante Jozić, born on 16 January 1967 in the Dalmatian town of Trilj, was ordained a priest in June 1992.

He has been included in the Vatican's diplomatic services since 1999 and has been working in the top-level diplomatic missions of the Holy See in India, Russia and the Philippines to date.

Jozić speaks Italian, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, German, Russian, Chinese and Polish.

More news on the Catholic Church can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Pope Francis to Replace Zagreb Archbishop Bozanić?

Croatian bishops have completed their visit to the Vatican. They were received as a group by Pope Francis, who also met separately with two bishops. One of them is the current Zagreb Archbishop, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, and the other is Bishop of Poreč-Pula, Dražen Kutleša. The meetings follow months of rumours that Cardinal Bozanić will leave his post and that Kutleša is his most likely replacement, reports Večernji List on November 19, 2018.

“This confirms everything that could be heard even before the bishops went to Rome, which is that Cardinal Bozanić could leave his post by Easter,” say church sources.

Rumours about Bozanić’s departure started shortly after he became the archbishop in 1997, with many believing that the post was just a stepping stone for his Vatican career. A year and a half ago the rumours got louder when Cardinal Bozanić virtually completely withdrew from the public activities due to illness. Since the illness coincided with the news that he and six other cardinals allegedly had about 25 million kuna deposited on an account at the Vatican Bank, many linked this issue with his possible departure. The arrival of Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Croatia a year ago just reinforced the rumours, with sources claiming that he came to Zagreb to dismiss Bozanić. However, nothing happened.

Cardinal Bozanić's health got better, so he began to appear in the public more. However, the rumours about his departure did not cease. An affair with Church property earlier this year restarted the rumours. The names of bishops who could replace Bozanić as the Zagreb Archbishop began to circulate. One of the potential candidates mentioned at the time was the bishop of Poreč-Pula.

Sources now agree that it is possible that Pope Francis has offered to Cardinal Bozanić a position as the head of one of Vatican’s congregations, which has been mentioned as a possibility for some time. “That outcome is also possible. First, it was rumoured that he would leave due to illness, but this option was also open. We will see very soon,” said a source.

Another topic of interest for the Catholic Church in Croatia is the canonisation of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. Pope Francis did not give a concrete answer to Croatian bishops about the issue. Asked about Stepinac’s canonisation, the president of the Croatian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop of Zadar Želimir Puljić, answered that the Pope said that he hoped Croatia would soon get a new saint, which shows that the issue of the canonisation of Cardinal Stepinac is still open, most likely due to the question of relations with the Orthodox Church.

Therefore, all those who expected to hear the definite date for the canonisation will have to wait a bit more, just like we will all have to wait for the official confirmation about the possible departure of Cardinal Bozanić and the arrival of a new Zagreb Archbishop.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Darko Pavičić).

For more on the Catholic Church in Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Speaker of Parliament Jandroković Meets with Vatican Officials

ZAGREB, November 18, 2018 - The best response to the current global challenges are multilateralism and strengthening of democracy, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said after his meeting with Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State Paul Gallagher in the Vatican on Saturday. The two officials discussed the situation in the region and the world.

Jandroković said that excellent bilateral relations were confirmed at the meeting. "I once again thanked the Holy See for everything it has done for Croatia since we gained independence. The Vatican was one of the first countries to recognise Croatia and it supported Croatia during the Homeland War and on its journey to the European Union," Jandroković said after the talks.

He told the press the talks also focused on Croatia's neighbours. "I expressed my concern about the position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also said that Croatia was interested in EU enlargement and we are prepared to assist our neighbours who aspire to join the bloc," Jandroković said.

He reiterated that the Croatian people wanted to see Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac canonized as soon as possible and once again extended an invitation to the Holy Father to visit Croatia.

Talks were also focused on the global state of affairs, international issues and challenges. "We agreed that the best response to all global threats is strengthening multilateralism, strengthening of democracy as a response to growing populism and, of course, dialogue between countries, between nations who are the only ones that can resolve problems. Violence and wars must be avoided at all costs," Jandroković said.

There were no concrete talks about possible signing of implementation agreement for the Vatican Treaties. "This was not addressed today. We agreed that our relations are excellent, that we want to further develop them and that we have a high level of understanding and agreement on many topics, but we did not start concrete talks. This is the job for the executive government," Jandroković said.

During his two-day official visit to Italy, Jandroković met Senate President Elisabeta Alberti Casellati and visited the Pontifical Croatia College of St Jerome on Thursday.

On Friday, he held talks with Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Maria Edera Spadoni and President of the Foreign and European affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies Marta Grande.

For more on Croatia’s relations with the Vatican, click here,

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican Gets Memorial Plaque about Croats

Croatian Catholic bishops are visiting the Vatican and they have unveiled a special memorial plaque at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica about the history of Croats and the Christianity, reports Večernji List on November 14, 2018.

“I hope. I am still looking into some things,” said Pope Francis asked by Croatian bishops whether Croats would soon get another saint. Croatian bishops, who are visiting the Vatican, have directly asked the pope whether Cardinal Stepinac would soon be canonized, said the president of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference Želimir Puljić. The conversation lasted for about an hour. Puljić had sent the Pope a written statement about the situation in the Croatian Church. After the Pope read it, they spoke cordially and openly.

Of course, they also discussed the issue of refugees and migrants. Pope Francis said people should accept the refugees in the numbers which can be integrated. “We need to have an open heart, an open door for the needy, but if there is no room and if it is not possible to integrate them, then we should be cautious, that is to ensure that people are received and that they can live,” said Puljić talking about Pope Francis’ opinion.

“We did not discuss the possible visit of Pope Francis to Croatia, but such things are discussed at other levels,” said the secretary general of the Croatian Bishop’s Conference (HBK) Petar Palić, adding that the Vatican treaties were discussed with the Secretariat of State.

In the St. Peter’s Basilica, in the presence of Croatian bishops, a memorial plaque about the connections between Croats and the Holy See was unveiled. The initiator of the idea was Jesuit Božidar Nagy. “The idea to put a memorial plaque in the St. Peter’s Basilica came about after I saw that Hungarians have as many as three memorials about their Christianity. In January 2013, I sent a letter to the HBK and presented the idea. After three months, I received a positive answer, but in three years nothing happened. In February 2016, I went directly to Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the rector of the St. Peter’s Basilica. He listened to my proposal and immediately accepted it,” explained Nagy.

141118 peter s basilica 2

“When I informed the HBK about my conversation with Cardinal Comastri in February 2016, I also sent them my proposal for the text, which included the most important events in the Christian history of Croatia associated with various popes. The proposal was then corrected, supplemented and changed by the HBK. Slavko Kovačić from Split translated the text into Latin and then in May 2017 the HBK sent the text to the Vatican,” explained Nagy.

The plate is a gift from the St. Peter’s Basilica to the Croatian Church and the Croatian people. It was made by the stone workshop of Fabbrica di San Pietro, which is responsible for maintaining the basilica. The plaque was produced in late 2017, and in January 2018 it was put into place. However, the plaque was then covered with a wooden cover.

The Croatian bishops decided to have the plaque unveiled now, in November, when they knew they were coming to Rome.

For more on the Catholic Church in Croatia, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Silvije Tomašević).

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Vatican’s Chief Diplomat Visits Zagreb

ZAGREB, October 12, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković received on Friday the Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, and they talked, among other things, about the canonisation of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the government said in a press release.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Vatican Praises Its Contracts with Croatia

ZAGREB, October 11, 2018 - The Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, held a talk in Zagreb on Wednesday on the 20th anniversary of the Vatican-Croatia agreement on economic matters, saying it should be interpreted in a somewhat more nuanced way than what a strictly practical interpretation allowed.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Pope to Appoint New Zagreb Archbishop?

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

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Vatican Envoy’s Arrival Crucial Event in Medjugorje

The move demonstrates a changing attitude towards Medjugorje.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Vatican’s Next Steps in Medjugorje

The first task will be to improve the pastoral care.

Page 2 of 3