Slovenia Hoping for Papal Visit

Prime Minister Meets With Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2007 ( The Slovenian prime minister invited Benedict XVI to visit his country in 2009 and expressed his nation’s gratitude for the Holy See’s concern ever since Slovenia gained independence.

The Vatican press office reported that Janez Jansa visited the Pope today in the Vatican. He later met with the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The prime minister “invited the Holy Father to visit Slovenia in 2009, for the occasion of the Year of Young People and for the closure of the National Eucharistic Congress,” said the Vatican communiqué. “Prime Minister Jansa also outlined the priorities and principal initiatives for the forthcoming six-month Slovenian presidency of the European Union.”

Cardinal Bertone expressed his hope that the Slovenian presidency would help bring peace and stability to the region of southeastern Europe, the communiqué reported.

“Finally, a number of bilateral questions were addressed,” it continued, “such as the process of restoring ecclesiastical property nationalized under the communist regime, and the prospects for creating a military ordinariate.”

Slovenia gained independence in 1991. About 58% of its 2 million inhabitants are Catholic.

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