BY SCO Admin | June 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

9-GENERAL-AUDIENCE-A

Croatia can defend and promote family and marriage

Holy Father speaks at general audience of weekend visit to country

At this morning’s general audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about last weekend’s apostolic visit to Croatia, a visit which had the theme: Together in Christ.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered at the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square, the Holy Father noted that the main reason for his visit was the inaugural National Day of Croatian Catholic Families, culminating in Sunday morning’s Eucharistic celebration, which took place among large numbers of Catholic Faithful at the Zagreb Hippodrome.

“In Europe today, the nations of firm Christian tradition have a special responsibility to defend and promote the value of the family based on marriage, which continues to be crucial both in the educational as well as the social arena,” Pope Benedict said earlier today.

“This message, therefore, has a special importance for Croatia that, with its rich spiritual, cultural, and ethical heritage, is preparing to enter into the European Union.”

Referring to the vigil with the youth held on Saturday evening, Pope Benedict noted that the young people present told him that ‘God seeks them before and more than they themselves seek Him.

“This is the joy of faith: discovering that God loves us first. It is a discovery that keeps us always disciples and, therefore, always young in spirit,” he said.

While in Croatia, the Pope also celebrated evening vespers with the bishops, priests, religious, and seminarians at Zagreb’s cathedral where the monumental tomb of Blessed Cardinal Aloysius Viktor Stepinac, bishop and martyr, is found.

“In Christ’s name, he courageously opposed the abuses of Nazism and fascism, and then later, of the communist regime,” the Pope said.

The Holy Father commented on his meeting with representatives of civil society and the political, academic, cultural, and business worlds as well as the diplomatic corps and religious representatives in the National Theatre of Zagreb.

“I paid homage to the great Croatian cultural tradition, which is inseparable from its history of faith and the living presence of the Church,” he said.

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