In turn, the Croatian episcopate was told by the apostolic nunciature in Zagreb that the process of beatification of Ivan Merz, a 20th-century intellectual and pioneer of Catholic Action, will not be concluded by that date. The visit was planned around the beatification.
Weeks ago, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls mentioned the possibility of this papal trip, but made no official statement to confirm it.
The Pope first visited Croatia at the end of the Balkans war; he last visited for the beatification of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. About 80% of Croatia´s 4.7 million inhabitants are Catholics.