Prime Minister Orešković to Visit Pope Francis on Thursday

Total Croatia News

The Prime Minister is visiting the Vatican for the first time.

Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković will on Thursday visit the Holy See. The central event will be a private meeting with Pope Francis, which is expected to last for about half an hour, reports Večernji List on April 5, 2016.

Sources close to the government claim that one of the topics of discussion will be the migrant crisis. The views of the Pope are well-known, and the Prime Minister will stress that Croatia had a very humane approach from the very start of the migrant crisis. In light of recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, they will also discuss the issue of how to find a balance between security and providing help to the people in need.

Pope Francis and Prime Minister Orešković will also talk about how to help Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is one of the strategic issues for the Holy See. Of course, they will discuss the Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac as well. The canonical process has been completed and all the conditions for declaring Stepinac a saint have been met. Government sources say that Pope Francis is not questioning whether Stepinac lived a holy life, but the process has been prolonged because the Pope wants to convince representatives of the Orthodox Church.

After his meeting with Pope Francis, the Prime Minister will meet with Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin. They will discuss the contracts between Croatia and the Vatican, as well as the issue of restitution of the Church property. In this respect, there are a lot of open issues between the Catholic Church and Croatia. The position of the Vatican is universal and very clear: confiscated and nationalized church property should be returned or the Church should be compensated.

In addition to the Prime Minister, the Pope will meet with his wife, two daughters and two sons. It is still not known what the Prime Minister will give as a present to Pope Francis. Orešković will also visit the main attractions of the Vatican, including St. Peter’s Basilica, and he will also probably see the tomb of St. Peter and Pope John Paul II. The programme of the visit includes the meeting with Croatian priests in Rome as well.


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