Saturday, 27 November 2021

Msgr. Aldo Cavalli New Apostolic Visitator for Parish of Međugorje

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Aldo Cavalli as special apostolic visitator for the parish of Međugorje, the Holy See's press office and the website of the globally popular Catholic place of pilgrimage in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Saturday.

Msgr. Cavalli was until now apostolic nuncio in the Netherlands.

The Holy See said in its brief statement that Cavalli has been appointed indefinitely.

Cavalli will continue the mission of Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who died of COVID-19 in Warsaw on 13 August.

Hoser was appointed apostolic visitator for Međugorje in 2018 to organise pilgrimages and pastoral care.

Msgr. Cavalli was born in 1946 in Lecce, Italy, and was ordained a priest in the Bergamo Diocese in 1971.

He served in several nunciatures as secretary and at the Holy See Secretariat of State.

He was apostolic nuncio in Chile, Colombia, Malta and Libya, and since 21 March 2015 he was apostolic nuncio to the Netherlands and the Holy See's permanent representative at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The head of the Franciscan province of Herzegovina, Friar Miljenko Šteko, has welcomed the appointment of the new apostolic visitator.

The Holy See appointed the apostolic visitator for Međugorje in 2018.

The Međugorje phenomenon dates back to 1981 when six local children claimed that the Virgin Mary revealed herself to them. Some of them say that she still does.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Pope Francis Gifted Dinamo Jersey at Vatican ahead of Friendly Football Match (PHOTOS)

November 24, 2021 - Pope Francis has been gifted a jersey of the Croatian champion Dinamo Zagreb as part of a Vatican trip that featured a friendly football match between the World Roma Organization in Croatia and the Pope's team Fratelli tutti, hosted by Italian club Lazio.

Croatian champion Dinamo was the main sponsor of a trip to the Vatican, organized by the Croatian delegation and the World Roma Organization in Croatia. The Zagreb club was represented by club president Mirko Barišić, reports HRT.

As part of the Vatican trip, a friendly football match was organized between the World Roma Organization in Croatia and the Pope's team Fratelli tutti, and the host of the match was the Italian club Lazio.

Before the match, the Holy Father received both teams and members of the delegations from Croatia and Italy, and on that occasion, Mirko Barišić presented the Holy Father with gifts, including the Dinamo jersey.

The event was organized by Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca, head of the Vatican's Council for Culture and Sports, in collaboration with Nikola Kriković, Toti Dedić's assistant.

"This was an extremely pleasant and beautiful trip. For me as a Christian and a Catholic, this moment of meeting the Pope means a lot, and it means a lot to Dinamo. I was pleasantly surprised that people around the Holy Father know the name Dinamo well from the sports world. Pope Francis is a very simple man, he is very careful, he cares and advocates that "small" people should not be excluded from society, and he especially cares about minorities such as the Roma. He is particularly sensitive to this topic, advocating for all people to be given equality and to be shown that they can participate equally in society. He was delighted with the role of Dinamo as a top football club that actively supported this match as a sponsor and who showed that in addition to sports results, he takes care to respect and appreciate everything that makes a man a man. Dinamo sticks not only to the results but also to the general social values. He gave us great recognition there," said the Dinamo president.

The Holy Father had a special message for the World Roma Organization, which is extremely active in Croatia and which makes great efforts to promote equal opportunities for all, and which Dinamo has repeatedly supported through various projects and cooperation over the years.

"Dear Roma friends, I know that in Croatia you are launching many sports inclusion initiatives to help each other know each other and friendship. It is a sign of hope because big childhood dreams cannot be limited by our barriers. All children have the right to grow up together, without obstacles and without discrimination. And sport is a place of encounter and equality and can build communities with bridges of friendship."

It should be reminded that Dinamo has supported the work of the World Roma Organization countless times by promoting the fight against racism and discrimination. Likewise, the club is continuously committed to providing equal opportunities for all regardless of diversity.

At the competition of the Foundation No surrender, entitled "Equal Opportunities for All", the World Roma Organization received a donation of HRK 40,000.00. The donation was given for the project of football camps for girls and boys belonging to racial and national minorities in several different parts of Croatia.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 15 November 2021

Milanović Agrees with Pope that Vaccination is "Act of Love for Oneself"

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović met with Pope Francis during his visit to the Vatican on Monday, discussing the situation in the Western Balkans and Europe, as well as vaccination against COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters after a private audience with the pontiff, Milanović said he agreed with the Pope's view that vaccination is "an act of love for oneself." He added that he does not think this is different from the recent statement made by Croatian bishops, who said that vaccination should be voluntary and testing non-invasive.

"In the Vatican, everyone has been vaccinated, and it appears that a scientific view on this matter prevails, although face masks are not being worn much," Milanović said.

He said he had a problem with COVID restrictions because they were not based on science. "The vaccines have been invented by several brilliant minds, while this nonsense with anti-epidemic measures has nothing to do with science. In Austria, they are banning unvaccinated people from leaving their homes as of today. What is that? Is that science or are those methods reminiscent of the 1930s?"

Milanović called on citizens to get vaccinated but noted that they also have the right to be protected from arbitrariness. "I am wondering where are human rights champions, where is the European Court of Human Rights, which has the ambition to tailor countries' constitutions? They are nowhere to be seen," he said, adding that he would like to hear the Court's opinion on the rights of people who are being forbidden to leave their homes because they are not vaccinated.

Milanović said that Pope Francis has "interesting views on Brussels as a somewhat alienated center of power that does not understand that European states are historically nation-states."

He said that the Pope presented him with a mosaic showing a winegrower picking grapes, as well as his works and speeches, while he presented the Pope with a 14th-century Glagolitic missal written by Duke Novak.

Milanović also met with the Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. They discussed the situation in Croatia's neighborhood, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We discussed things that are troubling us and that we can perhaps resolve better with the Vatican's assistance. Their view suits us. They can help. There are limits, of course, but we can also help ourselves because we are members of the EU and NATO," Milanović said.

"As long as the (Bosnian) Croats insist that they should not be deprived of the right to choose their representative and as long as they look to Sarajevo, you can be happy. Once the Croats turn away from Sarajevo and say they are no longer interested, that will send chills down your spine. An educated guess is that the Croats still care about Bosnia and Herzegovina," Milanović said.

He said he has invited the Pope to visit Croatia. "He is quite old, and I'm not sure if he should be a globe-trotter after turning 80, but he is absolutely welcome to Croatia."

Croatia's ambassadorial post in the Vatican has been vacant for a year now, and this issue has been raised by Cardinal Gallagher, Milanović said.

Asked by the press whether he would confirm Davor Stier as the new ambassador to the Holy See, the president said he was following the rules of conduct, including one that the names of future ambassadors are not made public.

Milanović said that Stier used to be an editor of an Ustasha newspaper in Argentina. "You don't know that. Do you know that he is from Argentina? He was politically active there. One of the last things he was doing there was editing an Ustasha newspaper. And what was he doing there? He certainly wasn't selling ice cream," he told Croatian reporters covering his visit.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Croatian President Has Private Audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović had a private one-on-one meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City on Monday, at the start of his official visit to the Vatican.

Gift exchange is customary at the end of private audiences and according to unofficial sources, Milanović will present the Pope with a 14th-century Glagolitic missal, the Missal of Duke Novak.

The letters of the missal were later used for the first Croatian printed book Missale Romanum Glagolitice.

The missal was written by the royal knight Novak Disislavić as a pledged gift to a church, where he was to be buried after death.

During his official visit to the Vatican, Milanović is also scheduled to hold talks with the Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for Relations with States, Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

The talks are expected to focus on relations between the Holy See and Croatia, the situation in Southeast Europe, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina, climate change, and "Laudato si", the second encyclical of Pope Francis.

Milanović is also expected to visit the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome.

This is Milanović's second visit to the Holy See. The first visit took place in 2012 when he was prime minister and when he met the then Pope Benedict XVI.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Plenković: More Than 2 Million Citizens Have Been Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 13 Nov, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday repeated his appeal to all citizens to get vaccinated and called on those who refused to do so to get tested.

Speaking at a press conference, Plenković said that the number of people vaccinated so far has exceeded 2 million and that today the proportion of people who have received the first dose will most likely reach 60 per cent of the adult population and 50 per cent of the total population.

"Everyone has the right to protest, but what we are advocating is common sense, notably the view of medical professionals, doctors and scientists," the prime minister said. He added that people who do not want to get vaccinated can get tested very quickly and obtain a COVID certificate.

"We respect the people who are responsible and who have been vaccinated. And those who have not, we appeal to them to get vaccinated and to get tested," he said.

Plenković said that the Fitch Ratings agency had taken into account the vaccination rate when it upgraded Croatia's credit rating on Friday. "Ratings agencies watch what we do as a society, whether we stand in solidarity with one another, whether we are responsible, whether we understand what's going on." 

Commenting on the message from Croatian Roman Catholic bishops that citizens should not be coerced into getting vaccinated, Plenković said that the bishops should be asked whether they should have publicly called on people to get vaccinated.

He said that Pope Francis was clear in his statement when he appealed to people to get vaccinated.

"I believe that many of our bishops have been vaccinated, considering their age and the availability of the vaccines. As for freedom, it cannot be the reason not to respect the people who have been vaccinated," the prime minister said.

Asked whether he would meet with protesters against COVID certificates, he said he did not get the impression any of them wanted to talk with the government, and that peaceful protests were held to express an opinion.

"We live in a democracy. If anyone wants to talk, they can contact us and say what the problem is. I would like to see what it is about through dialogue," the prime minister said.

Peaceful protests against the introduction of mandatory COVID certificates for public-sector workers and people visiting state and public institutions, were held in several cities across the country on Friday evening. In Zagreb, protesters rallied outside the government building in St Mark's Square.

Commenting on the criticism from President Zoran Milanović regarding the transport of bishops by a Croatian Navy vessel, Plenković said he could not see the problem.

"This was about the ordainment of Bishop Vidović (on Hvar island). The Military Ordinariate had asked the defence minister in writing to arrange transport and the minister approved it. Is it a crime? It's not. Did the state collapse? It didn't," he said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Pope Francis Quoted Important Document from Croatian Bishops in 1995

October 5, 2020 – As Fratellanza umana reports, in his third encyclical "Fratelli tutti", published on October 4, 2020, Pope Francis quotes the most important and unfortunately forgotten document of the Croatian Bishops' Conference.

In an issue number 253 of his new encyclical named "Fratelli tutti" on fraternity and social friendship, Bishop Francis of Rome quotes the Letter of the Croatian Bishops' Conference on the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, signed on May 1, 1995.

In addition to this document, Pope Francis quotes several other bishops' conferences elsewhere, which is not a novelty of this encyclical, but it is a novelty of his pontificate.

In any case, this is the first time that a bishop of Rome has quoted a Croatian Bishops' Conference's document in an encyclical. And he did not choose this 25-year-old document by chance, since the bishops in it ask very important moral questions for the believers and the entire Croatian society:

"It is not the main weightiness of the question in how to mourn the victims of one’s community and how to recognize the guilt of another community. Croats and Serbs, Catholics and Orthodox, Muslims and others are faced with a more difficult moral question: How to mourn the victims of another community, how to admit guilt in one's community? And then: How to atone for guilt, how to obtain the forgiveness of God and human, peace of conscience and reconciliation between people and nations? How to start a new age based on righteousness and truth?" reads the Letter of the Croatian Bishops' Conference on the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, on May 1, 1995.

In this new encyclical "Fratelli tutti", Pope Francis cites an excerpt from the CBC's letter which precedes this one, and is also related to the attitude towards the victims of the "other side". Thus the 253rd issue of the Pope's encyclical reads:

"When there have been injustices on both sides, it must be recognized that they may not have been of equal weight or they are not comparable. Violence perpetrated by the state structures and powers is not on the same level as violence by individual groups. In any case, it cannot be expected that only the unjust sufferings of only one of the parties will be mentioned. As the bishops of Croatia have taught, 'we owe equal respect to every innocent victim. There can be no ethnic, confessional, religious, national, or political differences'.“

 

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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Pope Francis Talks about Visiting Croatia, Says President is “General”

Pope Francis would like to visit Croatia, but he first wants to visit smaller countries. He praised Croatia and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. He received about 400 journalists (members of the Stampa Estera) from 50 countries with their families in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican, and gave a significant speech about the journalistic profession and shook hands with everybody present, reports Večernji List on May 19, 2019.

Silvije Tomašević, a reporter with Večernji List, used the opportunity to ask the pope whether he would visit Croatia. “I would be thrilled to do that, but before, as you know, I must visit smaller countries," Francis said. "But Croatia is not a large country," the journalist remarked. “But your country is strong, very strong, and you have a strong president, a real general," Francis replied.

The Pope was welcomed by the former president of Stampa Estera, Turkish journalist Esma Cakir, and current president Patricia Thomas from the United States.

“I want to tell you first of all, how much I appreciate your profession. The church appreciates you even when you put your fingers into its wounds because the wound is located in the church community. Your job is precious because it contributes to the search for truth, and only the truth can make us free. Your role is indispensable, and it gives you a great deal of responsibility: it demands from you to take special care with the words you use in your articles,” Francis said, adding that it was essential to choose words on social networks carefully as well.

He called on journalists to act so that "communication would really be a tool for construction rather than destruction, encounters rather than confrontations, dialogue rather than monologue, orientation rather than disorientation, understanding rather than misunderstanding, for giving voice to those who do not have it, rather than being a spokesperson for those who shout.”

“In times of fake news and hostile words, humility is the key turning point in the journalistic profession, although one might say that the foundations of the profession are competence, ability to write, the speed of synthesis, the ability to ask the right questions. Search for the truth requires humility. A humble journalist does not feed exaggeration with slogans that destroy thoughts, does not create stereotypes, but looks for facts before commenting on them.”

“It is necessary to choose words carefully, especially now, in the social network era, when many use violent and humiliating vocabulary. It should be borne in mind that every person has untouchable dignity.”

The Pope also mentioned the so-called forgotten wars and called on journalists to be careful not to forget the reality. "Please continue talking about this reality, do not give way to indifference," he said. He urged journalists not to forget those who are escaping from wars and said that the Mediterranean Sea was turning into a cemetery.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Silvije Tomašević).

More news about Pope Francis and Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Bishops Conference Head Says Pope's Stepinac Statement Has Agitated Public

ZAGREB, May 9, 2019 - Croatian Bishops' Conference (HBK) president Želimir Puljić said on Thursday that in Pope Francis's recent statement regarding the canonisation of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac "there is nothing contentious about the search for the truth" or anything "that would bring into question his sainthood and canonisation," but conceded that the statement "has agitated the public and challenged believers."

In an interview with the Croatian Catholic Network, Archbishop Puljić called on the faithful to be patient and calm. "The pope said he cared about the truth and that, together with the patriarch, he wants to arrive at the truth... However, regarding Stepinac and what the Congregation has already done and concluded, there is nothing contentious that would... bring into question his sainthood and canonisation."

According to religion sociologist Ivan Markešić, the pope said that Stepinac, who was the Archbishop of Zagreb during World War II, had been a virtuous person, that he was beatified and could be prayed to, and that he said nothing bad about him.

But when he saw that there were doubts regarding some historical truths and undefined historical gaps, the pope asked the Serb Orthodox Church (SPC) and Patriarch Irinej for help as he cares about Irinej's opinion, said Markešić.

The pope did not find out about those doubts from the Catholic clergy but the SPC, and his statement is in line with his aspiration to bring Christians closer, as evidenced by his attitude to the Russian, Serb, Bulgarian and Macedonian churches, Markešić added.

He does not believe that the pope's statement is a sign that Stepinac will not be canonised or that work on that has been halted. The commission will continue to look for common ground, which is a path towards the reconciliation of churches, he said.

"If we listen to statements by Metropolitan Porfirije or Episcope Ćulibrk, we can see that tensions are slowly being defused. Talking about Croatian WWII death camp Jasenovac, Porfirije says it's not the number of victims that's important but how to arrive at forgiveness and reconciliation. I think the next stage is to find common ground on which the Catholic Church and the SPC can talk about declaring Stepinac saint," said Markešić.

Archbishop Puljić said the pope's decision to consult the SPC regarding Stepinac was a precedent and that the SPC wanted to use this precedent to block the canonisation.

Markešić said the SPC was not interfering and that the pope had requested its participation. "He could have declared Stepinac saint regardless of the SPC, but he is responsible and consistent in his pushing for reconciliation."

Puljić recalled that the HBK sent a letter to Patriarch Irinej last November which said that his statements elicited distrust of the SPC and Serbs in Croatia as well as deepening war wounds and inciting hate.

"We care about ecumenism. We too are trying to cultivate good relations with Orthodox believers. But we don't like it when Stepinac is put in a political context. Stepinac did what he could in those times. Stepinac was such a critic of the NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia) that perhaps not even the Serbs were so critical of (NDH leader Ante Pavelić). And Stepinac, poor man, suffered because of that," said Puljić.

Markešić does not believe the HBK letter is conducive to the pope's rapprochement with the Orthodox brothers, saying it "makes the reconciliation process harder." The pope wants to be a Christian beyond any one church and sees Patriarch Irinej as a great and holy man, he added.

Stepinac can play a special role in connecting churches, but one should admit it if "there was something that should be admitted" about him as a man who could have made mistakes, said Markešić.

One should accept Pope Francis's path towards reconciliation and "those waiting for the day when a new pope will arrive should not look forward to it too much" because the Vatican's policy would not change much, he added.

What the church in Austria says about Bleiburg, that's what Pope Francis stands for, he said, adding that the Catholic Church supported the magnificent celebration of Victory Day in Paris, yet in Zagreb church bells did not toll.

More news about the canonisation of Stepinac can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Pope Francis Discusses Canonisation of Alojzije Stepinac, Praises Serbian Patriarch

On Tuesday, Pope Francis said that history still has to be being studied before Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac can be declared a saint. In reply to a question by Večernji List reporter Silvije Tomašević while returning from visits to Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia, the Pope commented on the discussions with the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the canonisation process, reports Večernji List on May 8, 2019.

“There are historical issues between our churches. Some of them are old. For example, President of Northern Macedonia Ivanov told me today that the schism began in Macedonia. And now the Pope is coming for the first time to bring the schism together? I do not know,” said the Pope at the start of the conversation.

“The historical case is the canonisation of Stepinac. Stepinac is a man of virtues. The Church has announced this with his beatification. People can pray to him. He has been beatified. But at a certain moment in the process of canonisation unclear points appeared. These are historical points. And I, who needs to sign on the canonisation, have prayed, contemplated, sought advice and then realised that I needed to seek the help of Irinej (patriarch of Serbian Orthodox Church). Irinej is a great patriarch. And Irinej helped me. We established a historical commission together. We worked together. Because both Irinej and I are interested only in the truth, we must not make a mistake. What purpose would a statement of holiness serve if the truth is not clear? It would serve nobody. We know that Stepinac is a good man, but to make this step, I have asked Irinej for his help to do the truth. We are studying it. First, a commission was established to give its opinion. But now other points are being studied. Some points are being deepened so that the truth would be clear. I am not afraid of the truth. I am not scared,” said Pope Francis. This was the answer of Pope Francis regarding the situation surrounding the Stepinac canonisation.

Alojzije Stepinac was the Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960. While the Serbian authorities claim that during the Second World War, he cooperated with the Ustasha regime in the Independent State of Croatia, the majority of Croats consider him to be a saint who helped those who were persecuted at the time. After the Second World War, Stepinac was imprisoned by the communist regime. Pope Francis established a special commission of Croatian Catholic and Serbian Orthodox officials who investigated the case. In Croatia, it is widely expected that Cardinal Stepinac will eventually be canonised.

More news on Alojzije Stepinac can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Pope Francis Becomes a Member of Hajduk!

“Only God and Hajduk live forever” goes one of the most famous sayings about the beloved Split football club. Thus, it would only make sense that the one closest to God became Hajduk’s newest member.

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