Msgr. Kutleša's welcoming remarks at the 66th Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops
Foto: Eva Leš // redovno 66. plenarno zasjedanje Sabora HBK u Zagrebu - kardinal Bozanić i mons. Kutleša
On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Dražen Kutleša of Zagreb, delivered welcoming remarks at the opening of the Sixty-Sixth Plenary Session of the Assembly of the Croatian Conference of Bishops (HBK), which we convey in their entirety.
- Greetings to the members of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and guests
Your Eminence Cardinal Josip, Your Excellency Nuncio Giorgio, archbishops and bishops, welcome to the Plenary Session of the Assembly of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, which this year is being held immediately after the Easter Octave. I warmly greet you all in the atmosphere of the Paschal mystery and wish for the work at this Sixty-Sixth Plenary Session to be blessed.
I greet and congratulate Msgr. Ivan Štironja on his appointment and assumption of office as the Bishop of Poreč and Pula. I greet Msgr. Želimir Puljić, who is again among us as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska.
I also greet the following representatives of other bishops’ conferences:
- Tomo Vukšić, Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
- Andrej Saje, Bishop of Novo Mesto and President of the Slovenian Conference of Bishops,
- Msgr. Fabijan Svalina, Coadjutor Bishop of Srijem and the delegate of the International Conference of Bishops of SS. Cyril and Methodius,
- Andrea Bruno Mazzocato, Archbishop of Udine and the delegate of the Italian Conference of Bishops,
- Krzysztof Nitkiewicz, Bishop of Sandomierz and the delegate of the Polish Conference of Bishops.
I greet the General Secretary of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, the Rev. Krunoslav Novak, and Mr. Zvonimir Ancić, Head of the Press Office of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, who are here among us. I greet the representatives of the media, who will inform the public about this session.
- Program of the Sixty-Sixth Plenary Session of the Assembly of the Croatian Conference of Bishops
Greetings will be followed by the working part of the session, from which I single out the items to which we shall devote our attention. There will be a presentation of a document from the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, Catechumenal Itineraries for Married Life, Pastoral Guidelines for Particular Churches, which has been translated and published in the Croatian language.
There will be discussion about the proposed Guidelines of the Croatian Conference of Bishops for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons. The Croatian Conference of Bishops has been engaged in this matter with particular sensitivity for many years. Various documents of the Universal Church have been translated on the protection of minors, which are available on the website of the Croatian Conference of Bishops. Today, in addition to the Guidelines for the Protection of Minors, practical manuals from the Italian Conference of Bishops will be presented, which have been translated into Croatian and are available on the CCB website.
In addition to discussions on pastoral-catechetical topics, there will be an assessment of the present forms for assisting Croatian Catholics who live outside the Republic of Croatia, and consideration of possibilities for continuing to support them in the future.
Since this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Center for the Promotion of the Social Doctrine of the Church, there will be discussion on how to implement the social doctrine of the Church in the pastoral activities of the particular Churches. We expect regular reports from the presidents of the councils, committees and commissions, which will present the ongoing activities at the level of the CCB and specific proposals for improving pastoral ministry to Croatian war veterans.
- The Continental Assembly of the Synod in Europe
Since our last session in January, the Continental Assembly of the Synod in Europe was held in Prague from February 5 to 12, in which Msgr. Želimir Puljić participated on behalf of the Croatian Conference of Bishops. In the concluding note, among other things, the bishops wrote the following: “As a fruit of the synodal experience, we bishops, therefore, undertake, to keep living and promoting the synodal process in our diocesan structures and life,” underlining that “this experience of care for the whole Church in Europe heartened us in our commitment to faithfully live out our universal mission. We are engaged in supporting the indications of the successor of Peter, our Holy Father, to become a synodal Church nourished by the experience of communion, participation and mission in Christ.”
The Synod urged all the episcopal conferences to hold a day of prayer for the success of the Assembly of the Synod, which we shall commend to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day of prayer will be on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 31, when the Secretary General of the Synod, Cardinal Mario Grech, will be visiting Croatia.
- The Thirtieth Anniversary of the Croatian Conference of Bishops
This year, we are commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Conference of Bishops by the Holy See, according to a decree dated May 15, 1993. In the Apostolic Letter on Episcopal Conferences, Apostolos Suos, St. John Paul II stated: “In the universal communion of the People of God, for the service of which the Lord instituted the apostolic ministry, the collegial union of Bishops shows forth the nature of the Church. Being on earth the source and the beginning of the Kingdom of God (AS, 8), the Church is ‘a lasting and sure seed of unity, hope and salvation for the whole human race’” (LG, 10).
Concerning the present organization of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, this is an opportunity to express gratitude to all the bishops and their associates, who, from the inception of the Croatian Conference of Bishops until today, have served in various bodies of the CCB, contributing to the mission of the Catholic Church in Croatia to promote an increase in faith and the Kingdom of God in the service of man, who is the way of the Church.
Following the establishment of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, new bodies were soon established, including the aforementioned Center for the Promotion of the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as media, of which IKA Zagreb—The Catholic Press Agency has operated for thirty years and Croatian Catholic Radio is commemorating its twenty-fifth anniversary. This evening, we shall have the opportunity to participate in a commemoration at the Vjenac Auditorium in Kaptol on the occasion of these anniversaries of Croatian Catholic Radio and IKA, media established by the bishops to be the voice of the Church, the voice of truth and the voice of the gospel in this world and time.
I wish to thank His Eminence Cardinal Josip Bozanić for his participation in this conference, in which he has served as its president and a member of the Permanent Council, and for his work and commitment to improving the organization of the CCB.
Once again, I wholeheartedly greet you and wish you a fruitful and blessed convocation.
✠ Dražen Kutleša
President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops
Cardinal Bozanić: My heart has always been with the Croatian Conference of Bishops and I shall continue to work for the Church in Croatia
Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Josip Bozanić, former Vice President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, bid farewell to the CCB on Tuesday, April 18, at the beginning of the Sixty-Sixth Regular Session of the Assembly of the CCB in Zagreb.