The Prime Minister welcomed the Pope’s decision to consult with the Serbian Orthodox Church about Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.
Croatian Prime Minister visited the Vatican today where he met with Pope Francis, reports Večernji List on April 7, 2016.
Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković expressed his hope that the process of canonization of Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac will begin this summer and will end as soon as possible, but he also welcomed the Pope’s decision to include the Serbian Orthodox Church in the process. “This process will begin, I think this summer, and to us, it is important that it finishes as soon as possible. Cardinal Stepinac is part of our identity”, he told reporters after the half-hour meeting with the Pope. “The time is doing its thing, sometimes in a positive way, and I hope it will not take too long because the Croatian people would suffer again”, added Orešković.
He welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to include in the process a mixed commission with representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, since “the Holy Father wants to bring Catholic and Orthodox believers closer”.
Orešković asked the Pope to give his support to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order for them to be equal with other nations and religions, stressing the strategic importance of this issue for Croatia, but also pointing out the stabilizing effect of equality of the three peoples. “In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are three peoples, three religions, and it is essential that Croatia provides assistance to the Croats there. It is in our strategic interest and we will try to help them economically”, said the Prime Minister.
One of the unavoidable topics was the refugee crisis, and the Prime Minister told the Pope that Croatia acted in a humane way toward more than half a million migrants who have used the so-called Western Balkan route to pass through Croatia. “We have not raised fences or walls. We have shown our humanity. I also said we were ready to take over 500 refugees from Turkey”, said Orešković.
Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, Pope has been pointing out the humanitarian problem of desperate refugees who are seeking a better future in Europe and has been advocating for a policy of accepting all those fleeing adversity.
Prime Minister Orešković confirmed that, after it had already been done by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, he had also called Pope Francis to visit Croatia.