I have been following the Pope’s trip to Croatia, my homeland. And I have been touched by many things in my heart and my mind watching images and hearing words that made me think very deeply about the most important things in my life. But this is my life, and is not your business, so I’m not going to bother you with that. Only I wanted to share three moments:
Silence in prayer: In the meeting with young people last saturday, at the end, the Pope presided the adoration of the Holy Sacrament, then, 50.000 youngsters were there with him kneeling praying in silence from about 8 minutes. The silence was so intense, that one could hear the sound of the birds, some coughs (most of the people have been waiting under the rain for hours to be there). It was an act of deep devotion and prayer, all together with the Pope, the nowadays St. Peter, Rock of the Church elected by Jesus Christ to guide his people. That was after a feast of signing, testimonies, ovations, cheering, the expected behavior of the young people. And after a very challenging message from the Pope for them, calling for their responsibility and their faith made compromise and facts in this troubled world.
Faith with reason: I love when I hear talk this Pope about faith and reason. It’s so simple, that sometimes is hard to catch it. Our reason is a gift by God our Creator, so there is no fight, no contradiction if there is an honest conscience searching for the truth. And then, we can understand many things in what we believe if we want study them. Our faith isn’t unreasonable. He put the example of a Croatian Jesuit from the 18th century, Father Ruđer Bošković.
The experts – said the Pope- say that his theory of “continuity”, which holds true both in the natural sciences and in geometry, accords well with some of the great discoveries of modern physics. What are we to say? Let us pay tribute to the illustrious Croat, but also to the true Jesuit; let us pay tribute to the cultivator of truth who knows how far the truth surpasses him, but who also knows, in the light of truth, how to engage fully the resources of reason with which he has been endowed by God himself.
Peace: At the end of the Mass for the families in Zagreb, the Pope saluted in various languages of the neighbors countries, first salute for the Serbians, in front of 400.000 or so Croatians gathered around. A big ovation. Then for the Slovenians, de Macedonians, the Albanians (Kosovars)… ovations for all of them. There is hope.
Stepinac: The Pope also prayed at the memorial of Blessed Cardinal Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII and more than two decades of communist regime. The Pope set the record straight about his figure many times trashed by the common clichés about that ugly war that in my opinion is ending now
This evening – said the Pope – we gather for a devoted and prayerful remembrance of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, a fearless Pastor and an example of apostolic zeal and Christian fortitude, whose heroic life continues today to illuminate the faithful of the Dioceses of Croatia, sustaining the faith and life of the Church in this land. The merits of this unforgettable Bishop are derived essentially from his faith: in his life, he always had his gaze fixed on Jesus, to whom he was always conformed, to the point of becoming a living image of Christ, and of Christ suffering. Precisely because of his strong Christian conscience, he knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a defender of the Jews, the Orthodox and of all the persecuted, and then, in the age of communism, an advocate for his own faithful, especially for the many persecuted and murdered priests. Yes, he became an advocate for God on this earth, since he tenaciously defended the truth and man’s right to live with God.
Blessed Stepinac suffered, as many Christian and Jews in central and eastern Europe, a big drama unknown by the west. They were oppressed by dictators pro fascists or nazis and “liberated” by communists who installed dictatorships and resumed the persecution. And he, as head of the Roman Catholic Church in Croatia and Yugoslavia paid that with his freedom and finally his life, because he wouldn’t accept the offer to founded a “national church” independent from Rome as the regime wanted. Both sides tried to manipulated him. He didn’t let them. It’s a shame that this complicated situation doesn’t match in the simplified scheme of good guys versus bad guys of that war. Is the all times mistake of write the history from the view of the politicians without the reality of the lives and the rights of the people living there.
Pope Benedict XVI