Budi dio naše mreže

Statement from the Fifty-Ninth Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops

Zagreb (IKA)

Zagreb, October 16‒20, 2019

The Fifty-Ninth Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, chaired by the President of the CCB, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar, was held in Zagreb from October 16 to 18, 2019. Besides the members of the CCB, participants included the delegate from the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Military Ordinary Tomo Vukšić; and the delegates Bishop Đuro Gašparović of Srijem and Bishop Ivan Penzeš of Subotica.

Addressing the participants at the opening of the session, Archbishop Puljić welcomed the new Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, wishing him a fruitful and successful mission in our country. He also welcomed the new member of the Croatian would be fruitful and blessed. The President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops also thanked Bishop Emeritus Josip Mrzljak of Varaždin for all the good he has done in the diocese and the CCB, especially for the many years he served as President of Caritas Croatia.

Following the adoption of the minutes from the previous session, the bishops were briefed on the proposed Curricula for Catholic Schools and approved their implementation. The President of the Commission of the CCB for Catholic Education, Bishop Antun Škvorčević of Požega, urged the involvement of Catholic schools in curriculum reform in order to define the specificities and emphasize the identity of Catholic schools. In this regard, a commission was established last year to develop a plan and program for Catholic schools, which issued two documents. One contains the general curricular supplements for Catholic schools and the other the supplementary curriculum for each subject that teachers in Catholic schools helped prepare. The pilot implementation of the supplementary curricula in all the Catholic elementary and secondary schools began in the current academic year, 2019/2020. The need to continue to improve the authenticity of Catholic schools and their educational standards, in order to maintain their Catholic identity, was emphasized.

A draft of a CCB message on ecumenism, which should provide guidelines and new incentives for promoting ecumenism in our actual situation, was discussed at the session. During the discussion, the bishops emphasized the importance of issuing such a document and forwarded it for further modification, with some proposals.

Since the appointment of Msgr. Bože Radoš as the Bishop-Elect of Varaždin has left the position of the Rector of the Pontifical Croatian College of Saint Jerome in Rome vacant, the bishops discussed the issue of his successor.

There was discussion at the session about the operations and activities of Church media, especially those under the authority of the Croatian Conference of Bishops. The positive aspects of the unification of the media of the CCB within the Croatian Catholic Network, which began last year in the new premises of the CCB headquarters, were highlighted. The bishops expressed their gratitude to all the employees for the hard work they invest every day in the demanding task of creating the extensive media content in all the network components: Croatian Catholic Radio, Catholic Press Agency—IKA—Zagreb and the new media. They also pointed out the challenges that this media organization is facing, especially in terms of its specific mission in the Croatian media, as well as in the evangelistic mission of the Church in our time. The bishops called for for even more work in our Church media on evangelization, the apostolate, spirituality, the promotion of Christian art, culture, and the social dimensions of faith and upbringing. It was also noted that the experience acquired from the establishment of the Croatian Catholic Network could be of value for a serious analysis of the continued development and improvement of the entire system.

The bishops were then acquainted in detail with the content of the document Male and Female He Created Them, issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education. The subtitle of this document indicates why it was written: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Identity in Education. The document is intended to help those involved in the upbringing and education of new generations, with respect to issues of human affectivity and sexuality, because we find ourselves, as the document states, in a cultural “disorientation,” which has given rise to the phenomenon of gender ideology. The Congregation for Catholic Education sought to clarify Church doctrine and provide educational guidance in relation to this phenomenon, as well as present a methodology of dialogue with respect to the issues of human sexuality at the heart of the discussion.

The members of the CCB supported a proposal by the Governing Board of the Center for the Promotion of the Social Doctrine of the Church for the holding of the Sixth Croatian Social Week from October 23 to 25, 2020. The main topics at this gathering would be Demography—Emigration—Migration. A proposal for Prof. Dr. Gordan Črpić to serve as the President of the Program Committee and Zvonimir Ancić as the Vice President was also accepted.

At the end of the second day of the session, Thursday, October 17, the Croatian bishops concelebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Zagreb with the new Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, at the beginning of his mandate in our country.

Among other things at the session, it was decided that the Committee for Young People of the CCB would no longer be the principal organizer of the festival for religious music known as Uskrsfest (Easter Festival). This festival has been held since 1979 and the Committee for Young People of the CCB first became involved with it in 2004.

The presidents of the individual bodies, commissions, councils and committees of the Croatian Conference of Bishops submitted regular annual reports.

At the session, decisions were made on individual mandates within the bodies of the CCB. Bishop Vjekoslav Huzjak of Bjelovar-Križevci was appointed as the new delegate of the CCB to the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community—COMECE; Bishop Dražen Kutleša of Poreč and Pula was appointed as the deputy delegate, and Auxiliary Bishop Ivan Šaško of Zagreb was reappointed as the National Delegate to International Eucharistic Congresses.

The calendar of events of the Croatian Conference of Bishops in the coming period includes special sessions on January 27 and June 9, 2020. The regular plenary sessions of the Assembly of the CCB will be held from April 21 to 23 and October 20 to 22, 2020, in Zagreb. A meeting of the members of the CCB with religious superiors will be held on June 8, 2020. The Ninth Pastoral-Catechetical Colloquium for Priests will be held in Zagreb from March 3 to 4, 2020. An Encounter of Croatian Catholic Young People will be held in Zagreb from May 9 to 10, 2020.   On June 21, 2020, the fiftieth anniversary of the canonization of Saint Nicholas Tavelich will be commemorated in Šibenik. The Sixth Croatian Social Week will be held from October 23 to 25, 2020, in Zagreb. An international scientific symposium on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Bishop Antun Mahnić will be held on December 12, 2020, with High Mass to be celebrated in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krk on the next day, December 13, 2020.

The bishops are calling for church bells to be rung this year on November 18 at 6:11 p.m. in memory of the Vukovar casualties and all the casualties of the Homeland War.