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

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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.


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