The 56th Theological- Pastoral Week opened


‘Theology and pastoral of God's mercy’ is the topic of the 56th theological-pastoral week opened on 26 January 2016 at the Archdiocesan Theological Seminary in Zagreb's neighbourhood Šalata.

Scientific-pastoral conference organised by the Catholic Faculty of Theology of the University of Zagreb was opened by the Archbishop of Zagreb and Great Chancellor of the Catholic Faculty of Theology Cardinal Josip Bozanić. In his opening speech the Cardinal pointed out how the culture of mercy is saying yes to new life, encouraging others and being hopeful of our future.

The entire Church, our parishes, communities, associations and movements are all invited to be oases of mercy, the Cardinal said.

He brought to our mind the connection between the Holy Year of Mercy and the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, whose life mirrored Christ, the Face of Mercy, as it is a wonderful example of devoted service in love to God, the Church, the Holy Father and the Croatian homeland. 

Addressing confusing news, headlines and opinions on canonisation of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the Cardinal said that he cannot be indifferent when it comes to statements and foul allegations which claim that both Croatian bishops and the Cardinal deceived the public and maliciously kept some information secret, insulted the Holy See and even the Pope himself.  

The bishops reacted in oral and written form to the allegations with the relevant authorities and informed the congregation and the church public of their responsibility, the Cardinal pointed out and added that every individual has a calling and responsibility in the Church and the Croatian Bishops' Conference cannot be reproached for the matter.

Cardinal Stepinac, he continued, is repeatedly used for political goals by falsifying facts and supporting distorted interpretations of what was done and said, as well as persistently repeating lies said in the rigged trial against him. He repeated that the canonisation of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac is not being called into question as it is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. What was done shall not be re-examined and there shall be no audit of the process that is almost finished, the Cardinal remarked.

He drew attention to the fact that this attempt at disunity of the Church in Croatia, although disguised, is an attempt to create a climate of distrust towards the Pope. I want you, brothers and sisters, never to stop promoting unity with the successor of St. Peter, as Alojzije Stepinac never did, no matter what others may tell you. And you, fellow priests, to feel honest love and affection towards the Holy Father, Cardinal Bozanić concluded.

Greeting the participants of the conference, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna, Vinko Puljić emphasised mercy as an absolute need as sin succeeded in separating the man to such an extent.  God has ever less space in both our private and public life. It is important to become aware that we are loved and that by God's mercy we are being overtaken by His love, Cardinal Puljić said.

Apostolic Nuncio to Croatia, Msgr. Allesandro D'Errico commented on Cardinal Bozanić's opening speech on canonisation of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. He attested to his meeting with Pope Francis on 17 December 2015 when the Pope told him that he does not oppose Stepinac’s canonisation or that he has anything against the Croatian people.

The Pope said, the Apostolic Nuncio continued, that he felt there could be renewed tensions between the two Churches and nations. The Pope pointed out how formation of a working group consisting of experts from the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church is to be viewed as an ecumenical gesture and a step out to the periphery, a spiritual periphery where the Church is open for discussion on various factors.

The Pope feels, the Apostolic Nuncio added, that the working group should inform the public on what has already been done and not discuss Stepinac's sainthood. At the end of his speech the Apostolic Nuncio said the working group consisting of three to five experts from both sides is being formed  and that the first meeting is to be held in Rome.

Prof. Damir Boras, the Rector of the University of Zagreb, Prof. Predrag Šustar, the newly appointed Minister of Science, Education and Sports, Stipe Zeba, deputy mayor of the City of Zagreb and Prof. Tonči Matulić, the Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb gave their welcoming speeches as well.

Press Office of the Archdiocese of Zagreb