Ivan Merz a "Clear Guide for Europe," Say Bishops in Bosnia

Episcopal Letter in Advance of Papal Visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, anticipating this weekend’s beatification of Ivan Merz, called the educator «a clear guide for a de-Christianized Europe.»

In a letter, the bishops described Merz (1896-1928) as «the first lay believer of the Croatian people» to be raised to the altar.

John Paul II will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina this Sunday to preside over the beatification of the young Catholic layman, student, soldier, intellectual and teacher.

«Ivan Merz is a clear guide for a de-Christianized Europe in the agony of doubts and contemporary temptations,» the bishops say in their letter. He is «a call to modern Europe» to return to its Christian roots, they add.

According to a Vatican Radio report, the bishops wrote: «That which many people worked for for decades, and prayed for in many places, at last is being realized.»

«Ivan Merz really has something to say and also to demonstrate to young members of the Church of Christ, both in our dioceses as well as throughout Europe,» the bishops’ letter continues.

The letter points out that when Ivan was a boy, «he was not someone special.» He came «to know Christ gradually, day after day, in prayer, in sorrow, in the sufferings of war, and in deepening thought, in the course of his brief but intense 32-year life.»

An «example of obedience» and «precursor» of the Second Vatican Council, he perceived the need to renew the Church and to value the laity, the bishops say.

The future blessed, the prelates add, «is a direct proof that ‘a normal man,’ who does not belong to a particular spiritual order, can exercise holiness of life where he lives and grows, in the culture to which he belongs, where he resides and works.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation