30-October-2012 -- Vatican Information Service |

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The Holy See And Croatia: Twenty Years Of Intense Relations

Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - "The Holy See and Croatia: twenty years of intense relations" was the theme of a conference held yesterday in the Vatican to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia.

Speaking at the event Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, recalled that "in the year 879, in the same month of June in which modern Croatia annually celebrates its independence, Pope John VIII addressed a letter to Prince Branimir informing him that he had raised prayers to the Lord in order that 'principatum terrenum, quem habes, prospere et securiter reggere possis'. ... These strong ties between Croatia and the Holy See have not diminished over the centuries. On several occasions throughout history, and in difficult circumstances, Croatians have demonstrated their fidelity to the Gospel and to Peter's Successor".

He remarked, "During Croatia's millennium-long history, the last twenty years have been among the most difficult and, at the same time, crucial for its future, especially those immediately following its independence. However the challenges persist, and today Croatians must ask themselves about the values upon which they intend to build their lives as individuals, and the life of the nation as a whole".

"Although the Church and the political community work at different levels and are independent from one other, both serve the same people who are, at one and the same time, faithful members of the Church and citizens of the State. This means that there is ample space for dialogue and co-operation, in the service of the dignity of all men and women. At the heart of mutual co-operation, in fact, lies our shared commitment to the common good and to the promotion of spiritual and moral values, which give Croatian society its solid foundations.

"I wish to conclude by expressing the hope that the Republic of Croatia will continue to progress in both material and, above all, spiritual terms", said the archbishop. "In particular I hope that, when Croatia's aspiration to full integration into the European Union is achieved, the country will reinforce its identity and thus act as leaven bringing good to other States".

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