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Pope Francis receives a national soccer team jersey bearing his name from Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic

ANSA - ANDREW MEDICHINI

President on Pope Visiting Croatia: Unlikely This or Next Year

Discusses Canonization of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac

It is unlikely the Pope will be able to visit Croatia this or next year, says Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

According to Dalje.com, the president discussed a possible apostolic visit to Croatia when she met with the Pope on Thursday.

“I invited him to visit Croatia. He told me that he knows a lot about Croatia,” President Grabar-Kitarovic said.

“The Pope told me that he would very much like to visit Croatia,” she continued, adding that she is hoping they will “manage to find a date for that,” given how much the Croatian people would like to welcome him.

The president did speak to the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about the Pope potentially visiting, but he noted that the Holy Father’s schedule for next year is  “very tight,” she said.

The Pope will be making a one-day visit to Sarajevo in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 6, where he will speak to authorities, religious, young people, and different faith orientations at an interreligious, ecumenical encounter.

Canonization

President Grabar-Kitarovic said that during her visit, they also discussed the canonization of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.

“Naturally, we spoke about [the canonization]; the Holy Father told me that he had no doubt about [his sanctity],” she said.

“However, in the meantime,” the president added, “a combined commission with the Orthodox Church has been appointed to investigate some other aspects… simply so that that act [a possible canonization] is accepted by everyone.” 

The Croatian president opined that his canonization should have taken place a long time ago because “Cardinal Stepinac was truly a holy man.”

Crisis

The talks with the Pope, she told Croatian reporters, were “very cordial.” She said they also spoke about the situation in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in the world, the global crisis, the problems faced by Christians and other global security matters.

“We particularly agreed that the social situation in Croatia is a big crisis,” she said, pointing out how many young people are leaving, the demographic problem, the aging population and how the economic situation is preventing people from starting families.

She shared that she asked Pope Francis “to pray for the Croatian state and for all of us, for the Croatian people and for our future.” (D.C.L.)

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