Vatican: “No Need for Revision of Treaties with Croatia”

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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is in Zagreb.

Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin has arrived on a visit to Croatia. At the Croatian Catholic University, he attended a celebration of the University’s day and gave a lecture on poverty, peacebuilding and dialogue, reports N1 on October 30, 2017.

The lecture was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković. After the address, Parolin held a press conference.

“This visit is a result of an invitation sent by Archbishop of Zagreb Bozanić and Chancellor of the University, and it is not related to the canonisation of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. I feel the great love of Croatian people towards Cardinal Stepinac, who was a great defender of the truth, for which he has laid down his life. His sainthood has already been confirmed by the beatification process. As for when the canonisation could take place, let us wait for God’s time. There is also the issue of a mixed commission which Pope Francis cares a lot about. This process has helped us along the path of common dialogue, and it seems to me that Stepinac would be the happiest about it,” Parolin said.

Asked whether the Pope would accept the invitation of Prime Minister Plenković to visit Croatia, the Secretary of State replied: “The Pope is considering the invitation. He has received a lot of invitations from all over the world, and he has to think about what is possible. I believe he’s thinking about the invitation.”

When it comes to Medjugorje, he said that the commission investigating the Medjugorje phenomenon had reached conclusions and submitted them to the Pope, but it is not yet known how the Pope would act. “In addition to issues of supernatural character, there is also a question of pastoral care for Medjugorje, which is troubling because we see that a large number of people go to the site. The Holy See’s wish is to provide assistance to this site and help regulate this phenomenon so that believers can better hear God’s words.”

Asked whether the treaties between the Vatican and Croatia should be revised, Parolin said he did not personally see any reason for the revision, adding that the Vatican treaties were not an expression of privilege, but of mutual assistance. “I think these treaties can still properly regulate issues between the state and the church within a society which is now more pluralistic than before. For historical and current reasons, the Church has a critical role to play.”

There are many in Croatia who believe that the treaties, signed in the 1990s, give too many benefits to the Church, particularly with regards to financing from the state budget and the role of religious education in schools.

During the day, Parolin will meet with representatives of other religions in Croatia and members of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference. Asked about the promotion of nationalistic views by some members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the statements of the Croatian bishops about fascism, Parolin said that, on a theoretical level, things were straightforward. “The Church must be a factor of communion, unity and reconciliation. That is its task which it derives from reality. It seems to me that we are making important steps on this path and that the relations between Christian communities in this region are very positive. I am sorry if there are some dissonant voices, but we have to be patient and proceed,” said Parolin.

Translated from N1.


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