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The Fifty-Ninth Theological-Pastoral Week Has Begun in Zagreb

Zagreb (IKA)

The Prophetic Dimension of Christians in the Life of the Church and Society is the theme of the Fifty-Ninth Theological-Pastoral Week, January 22‒24, organized by the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, at the Interdiocesan Seminary in Šalata, Zagreb.

Introductory remarks were delivered by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić; the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Cardinal Vinko Puljić; the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto; the President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Prof. Dr. Velimir Neidhardt; the Rector of the University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Damir Boras; the Mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić; and the Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb, and Prof. Dr. Fr. Mario Cifrak, OFM, who opened the Theological-Pastoral Week.

Cardinal Bozanić pointed out that this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Saint Pope John II’s first visit to Croatia and the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb. The Church has its foundation in Christ and obtains its prophetic dimension through the descent of the Holy Spirit, who will remain with us until the end of the world. Pope Francis often emphasizes that future generations will prophesy and have visions if older generations provide reasons for hope, said Cardinal Bozanić. He noted that Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac is a symbol of Croatian hope, as hope was the central message of his life.

Speaking about the theme of this year’s Theological-Pastoral Week, The Theological Dimensions of Christians in the Life of the Church and Society, Cardinal Vinko Puljić said that knowledge is the first step but nothing will come of knowledge if it does not penetrate the heart. “Living one’s Christian identity, the believer is a prophet because he points to the path toward eternity,” said Cardinal Puljić.

Nuncio Pinto conveyed Pope Francis’ greeting and blessing to those assembled. Reflecting on the topic, he pointed out that prophesy is a special form of revelation that unites word and sign, and thus makes it possible to contemplate the content revealed. Nuncio Pinto cited the example of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac as a paragon of strength among the Croatian people.

Those assembled were also addressed by the President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Prof. Dr. Velimir Neidhardt; the Rector of the University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Damir Boras; and the Mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić.

Proclaiming this year’s Theological-Pastoral Week open, Dean Cifrak recalled the words of Pope Francis on April 17, 2018, in the chapel of the guesthouse of St. Martha in the Vatican, and touched upon the need for prophets in the Church. He pointed out that the prophets, Jesus’ disciples, have been persecuted throughout history, although they were peacemakers. He recalled how on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul in 1997, Cardinal Kuharić said to newly ordained priests: “‘Today, when we are in a democracy, in freedom, when the Church has broad areas of activity open to it, I could not promise you that I am sending you into a bloodbath but I can promise you a hard battle. Neither in totalitarianism nor in democracy does Jesus Christ cease to be a sign a contradicted sign nor cease to be persecuted. Under atheistic totalitarianism, he and his Church were brutally persecuted but in democracy the Church will be insidiously persecuted. From various sides, various accusers have wanted to enslave the Church in their interests, accusations and judgments.’ Was he a prophet?” asked Dean Cifrak.

A telegram was sent to Pope Francis, signed by Cardinal Bozanić, which was read aloud by Dr. Davor Šimunec.

The introductory lecture, The Church and Christians between Prophecy and Conformism, was presented by Prof. Dr. Josip Grbac. On the first day of the Theological-Pastoral Week, Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Puljić.


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