Speeches 2005-13 451






AT THE END OF THE CONCERT Paul VI Audience Hall Friday, 27 May 2011

Mr President of the Republic,
Your Eminences,
Hon. Ministers and Authorities,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to address my respectful greeting to the President of the Republic of Hungary, Mr Pál Schmitt, to his wife and to the Hungarian Delegation. I thank him for the words he addressed to me and for very courteously offering us this splendid concert on the occasion of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt, a truly European artist.

I greet the other Authorities, the Ambassadors, the various personalities and all of you. A special thanks goes to the conductor, to the tenor, to the National Philharmonic Orchestra and to the Hungarian National Chorus for an extremely high level performance, and to the organizers of this event.

Liszt, one of the greatest pianists of all time, was a genial composer of music not only for the piano but also of symphonic and sacred music, as we have just heard. I would like to propose a thought that occurred to me while listening to the first three pieces: Festmarsch zur Goethejubiläumsfeier, the Vallée d’Obermann and the Ave Maria-Die Glocken von Rom. The first was adapted and the other two transcribed from piano by Maestro Kotschisch in Liszt’s true spirit. In these three compositions the orchestra’s whole range of tones is highlighted; therefore, we heard with clarity the particular voices of the various sections which form the structure of the orchestra: string, wind, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, timbres which are very characteristic and diverse among themselves. Yet we did not hear an accumulation of disconnected sounds; all of these orchestral colours harmoniously expressed a single musical design, bestowing on us the beauty and joy of listening. They have excited in us a vast range of emotions: from the joy and festivity of the march, to the thoughtfulness of the second piece with its recurring and soulful melody, while the poignant Ave Maria instills a prayerful attitude.

A word also concerning the very beautiful Psalm 13 [12]. This piece dates back to the years in which Liszt stayed in Tivoli and Rome; it was a period when the composer lived his faith intensely, so much so that he almost exclusively wrote sacred music. Let us remember that he took minor orders. The piece which we have heard gives us an idea of the quality and depth of this faith. It is a Psalm in which the praying person is in a difficult situation, the enemy surrounds and besieges him, God seems absent and seems to have forgotten him. And his anguished prayer rises in the face of this situation of abandonment: “How long, O Lord”, the Psalmist repeats four times. The tenor and the choir repeat “Herr, wie lange?”, in an almost incessant way. It is the cry of man and of humanity that feels the weight of evil that is in the world. Liszt’s music conveys to us this sense of heaviness and distress. But God does not abandon. The Psalmist knows this, Liszt does too; as a man of faith, he knows. From the anguish, a cry full of faith leading to joy is born: “My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me”. Here Liszt’s music transforms itself: the tenor, choir and orchestra raise an anthem full of confidence in God, who never betrays, never forgets, never leaves us by ourselves.

Regarding his Missa Solemnis, Liszt wrote: “I can truly say that I have prayed this mass more than I composed it”. I think that we can say the same about this Psalm: the great Hungarian musician prayed more than he composed it, or even better, he prayed it before composing it.

I renew my gratitude to the President of the Republic, the conductor, the tenor, the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choir, to all the organizers, for having given us this moment in which our heart was invited to rise to the height of God.

May the Lord continue to bless your life. Thank you all.


Honourable President,
Dear Sodality Members,

I bid you all a very cordial welcome on the occasion of your visit, your gift and your discovery of a forgotten event in my life. Indeed it is not simply an event of the “past”: my admission to the Marian Sodality looked to the future and was never merely something that happened. So even after 70 years this event belongs to “today” and points out the way to “tomorrow”. I am grateful to you for having “brought it out”, I am glad about this. I warmly thank you, dear President, for your kind words which come from your heart and reach out to hearts.

Those were dark times, during the war. One after the other Hitler had subjugated Poland, Denmark, the States of Benelux, France, and, in April 1941 — in that very same period, 70 years ago — he occupied both Yugoslavia and Greece. It seemed as though the continent lay in the hands of this power, which, at the same time, also cast doubts on Christianity’s future.

We were admitted to the Sodality but shortly afterwards the war against Russia broke out. The seminary was disbanded and the Sodality — even before it had met, before it had managed to meet — was already scattered to the four winds.

This is why it was not included as an “external event” of my life but rather lives on as “an internal event”, for it had always been clear that Catholicity cannot exist without a Marian approach, that being Catholic means being Marian and that this implies love for the Mother and that it is in the Mother and through the Mother that we find the Lord.

Here, through the Bishops’ ad limina visits, I am constantly aware that people — especially in Latin America but also on the other continents — can entrust themselves to the Mother, can love the Mother and so, through the Mother, they can learn to know, to understand and to love Christ. I have experienced how in the world the Mother continues to bring forth the Lord, how Mary continues to say “yes” and to bring Christ into the world.

When we were studying after the war — and I believe that today not very much has changed, I do not think that the situation is much improved — the Mariology taught at German universities was somewhat austere and dull. However I believe that we found the essential in it. At that time we were oriented to Guardini and to the book of his friend, the parish priest Josef Weiger, Maria, Mutter der Glaubenden, (Mary, Mother of believers), who refers to Elizabeth’s words: Blessed are you who believed (cf. Lc 1,45).

Mary is the great believer. She took up Abraham’s role of being a believer and crystallized Abraham’s faith in faith in Jesus Christ, thereby showing us all the way of faith, the courage to entrust ourselves to the God who puts himself in our hands, the joy of being his witnesses; and then his determination to stand firm when everyone else had fled, the courage to remain on the Lord’s side when he seemed to be lost and thus to make our own the testimony that led to Easter.

I am therefore grateful to hear that the Sodality has about 40,000 members in Bavaria and that today there are still people who with Mary love the Lord and through Mary learn to know and love the Lord and, like her, bear witness to the Lord in difficult as well as in happy times; that they are with him, beneath the Cross and continue to live Easter joyfully together with him.

I therefore thank all of you for continuing to hold this testimony up high, because we know that there are Bavarian Catholic men who are supportive, who take this path marked out by the Jesuits in the 16th century and who on Saturday morning, 28 May, in the Vatican’s Hall of Popes, continue to show that faith is not obsolete but always open to a “today” and above all to a “tomorrow”.

“Vergelt’s Gott für alles” [May God reward you for everything] and may God bless you all! My heartfelt thanks.


Dear Brother Bishops,

I offer you a warm welcome on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum, a particular moment of grace and a sign of the communion that exists between the Church in India and the See of Peter. I wish to thank Archbishop Maria Callist Soosa Pakiam for the devoted sentiments and the promise of prayers which he has voiced on your behalf and in the name of all those whom you serve. Please take with you my affectionate greeting to the priests, the men and women religious, and the laity entrusted to your pastoral care.

The Second Vatican Council reminds us that, among the more important responsibilities of Bishops, the proclamation of the Gospel is pre-eminent (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 25). For the Church, the Body of Christ, proclaims the word of God which is at work in the hearts of those who believe (cf. 1Th 2,13) and she grows by constantly hearing, celebrating and studying that word (cf. Verbum Domini, 3). It is a source of satisfaction that the proclamation of God’s word is bearing rich spiritual fruit in your local Churches, especially through the spread of small Christian communities in which the faithful come together for prayer, reflection on the Scriptures and fraternal support. I encourage you, through your priests and with the help of qualified lay leaders, to ensure that the fullness of God’s word, which comes to us in the sacred Scriptures and the Church’s apostolic tradition, is made readily available to those who seek to deepen their knowledge and love of the Lord and their obedience to his will. Every effort should be made to stress that individual and group prayer is, by its very nature, born of, and leads back to, the wellspring of grace found in the Church’s sacraments and her entire liturgical life. Nor can it be forgotten that the word of God not only consoles but also challenges believers, as individuals and in community, to advance in justice, reconciliation and peace among themselves and in society as a whole. Through your personal encouragement and oversight, may the seeds of God’s word presently being sown in your local Churches bear abundant fruit for the salvation of souls and the growth of God’s kingdom.

In fidelity to the new commandment to love one another as the Lord has loved us (cf. Jn 13,34), Christians of all times and places have striven to serve their fellow human beings selflessly and to love them with all their heart. After all, love is God's gift to humanity, it is his promise and it is our hope (cf. Caritas in Veritate ). This selfless love finds practical expression in service to others and to the wider community. In this light, I am pleased to note the impressive signs of the Church’s charity in many fields of social activity, a service borne in a particular way by her priests and religious. Through their witness to Christian charity, the Church’s schools prepare young people of all faiths and none to build a more just and peaceful society. Church agencies have been instrumental in the promotion of microcredit, helping the poor to help themselves. In addition, they promote the Church’s healing and charitable mission through clinics, orphanages, hospitals and innumerable other projects aimed at promoting human dignity and well-being, assisting the poorest and the weakest, the lonely and the elderly, the abandoned and the suffering, helping all of them because of the dignity which is their due as human beings, and for no other motive than the love of Christ which impels us (cf. 2Co 5,14). I encourage you to persevere in this positive and practical witness, in fidelity to the Lord’s command and for the sake of the least of our brothers and sisters. May Christ’s faithful in India continue to assist all those in need in the communities around them, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or social status, out of the conviction that all have been created in God’s image and all are due equal respect.

As that gift of God’s “unconditional love” which gives ultimate meaning to our lives (cf. Spe Salvi ), charity is first experienced by most of us in the family home. The recent Synod on the Word of God recalled that the Church, by her proclamation of the Gospel, reveals to Christian families their true identity in accordance with God’s plan (cf. Verbum Domini, 85). Families in your dioceses, which are “domestic churches”, are to be examples of that mutual love, respect and support which ought to animate human relations at every level. Insofar as they are attentive to prayer, meditate on the Scriptures, and participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church, they will help nourish that “unconditional love” among themselves and in the life of their parishes, and will be a source of great good for the wider community. Many of you have spoken to me about the grave challenges which threaten to undermine the unity, harmony and sanctity of the family, and about the work which must be done to build a culture of respect for marriage and family life. A sound catechesis which appeals especially to those preparing for marriage will do much to nourish the faith of Christian families and will assist them in giving a vibrant, living witness to the Church's age-old wisdom regarding marriage, the family, and the responsible use of God’s gift of sexuality.

With these thoughts, dear Brother Bishops, I commend all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Assuring you of my continued prayers for you and for those entrusted to your pastoral care, I impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Risen Lord.


Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

When, on 28 June of last year, at the First Vespers of the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, I announced that I wished to institute a Dicastery for the promotion of the New Evangelization, I opened the way for a reflection to begin on a subject I had pondered over for a long time: the need to offer a specific response to a moment of crisis in Christian life which is occurring in many countries, especially those of ancient Christian tradition. Today, with this meeting, I note with pleasure that the new Pontifical Council has become a reality. I thank Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella for the words which he addressed to me, introducing me to the work of your first Plenary Assembly. I extend my cordial greetings to all of you with my encouragement for the contribution that you will make to the work of the new Dicastery, especially in view of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which, in October 2012, will address the theme: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.

The term, “new evangelization” recalls the need for a renewed manner of proclamation, especially for those who live in a context, like the one today, in which the development of secularization has had a heavy impact, even in traditionally Christian countries. The Gospel is the ever new proclamation of the salvation worked by Christ which makes humanity participate in the mystery of God and in his life of love and opens it to a future of strong, sure hope. Highlighting that at this moment in history, the Church is called to carry out a new evangelization, means intensifying her missionary action so that it fully corresponds to the Lord’s mandate. The Second Vatican Council recalled that “The groups among whom the Church operates are utterly changed so that an entirely new situation arises” (Decree Ad Gentes AGD 6). The farsighted Fathers of the Council saw the cultural changes that were on the horizon and which today are easily verifiable. It is precisely these changes which have created unexpected conditions for believers and require special attention in proclaiming the Gospel, for giving an account of our faith in situations which are different from the past. The current crisis brings with it traces of the exclusion of God from people’s lives, from a generalized indifference towards the Christian faith to an attempt to marginalize it from public life. In the past decades, it was still possible to find a general Christian sensibility which unified the common experience of entire generations raised in the shadow of the faith which had shaped culture. Today, unfortunately, we are witnessing a drama of fragmentation which no longer acknowledges a unifying reference point; moreover, it often occurs that people wish to belong to the Church, but they are strongly shaped by a vision of life which is in contrast with the faith.

Proclaiming Jesus Christ the only Saviour of the World, today is more complex than in the past; but our task remains identical to that at the dawn of our history. The mission has not changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that moved the Apostles and first disciples must not change. The Holy Spirit which prompted them to open the doors and made evangelizers of them (cf. Ac 2,1-4) is the same Spirit which today moves the Church to a renewed proclamation of hope for the people of our time. St Augustine affirms that we must not think that the grace of evangelization was extended only to the Apostles and with them that fount of grace was exhausted, but “this fount is revealed when it flows, not when it ceases to pour out. And it was in this way that the grace, through the Apostles, reached others too, who were invited to proclaim the Gospel… in deed, it has continued to be a call right up to these days for the entire body of his Only Begotten Son, that is, his Church spread throughout the earth” (cf. Sermon, 239, 1). The grace of the mission continually needs new evangelizers capable of receiving it so that the salvific news of the Word of God never fails to be proclaimed in the changing conditions of history.

There is a dynamic continuity between the proclamation of the first disciples and ours. Throughout the centuries, the Church has never ceased to proclaim the salvific mystery of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but today that same message needs renewed vigour to convince contemporary man, who is often distracted and insensitive. For this reason, the new evangelization must try to find ways of making the proclamation of salvation more effective; a proclamation without which personal existence remains contradictory and deprived of what is essential. Even for those who remain tied to their Christian roots, but who live the difficult relationship with modernity, it is important to realize that being Christian is not a type of clothing to wear in private or on special occasions, but is something living and all-encompassing, able to contain all that is good in modern life. I hope that in your work during this Assembly, you will be able to draw up a plan capable of helping the whole Church and the different particular Churches in the commitment to the new evangelization; a project where the urgency of a renewed proclamation involves formation, especially for the new generations, and is combined with a proposal of concrete signs able to make evident the response which the Church intends to offer in this particular moment. If, on the one hand, the entire community is called to reinvigorate its missionary spirit to proclaim the Good News that the people of our time are waiting for, we cannot forget that the lifestyle of believers needs to be genuinely credible and all the more convincing for the dramatic conditions in which those who need to hear it live. For this reason, we want to make the words of the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI our own, when he said with regard to evangelization, “It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus — the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 41).

Dear friends, invoking the intercession of Mary, Star of Evangelization, that she accompany those who bring the Gospel and open the hearts of those who hear it, I assure you of my prayers for your ecclesial service and impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.



Lourdes Grotto, Vatican Gardens Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to join you in prayer before the statue of the Holy Virgin, whom we are contemplating today on the Feast of the Visitation. I greet and thank Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the cardinals and bishops present, and all of you gathered here this evening. At the end of the month of May, let us unite our voice to Mary’s, in her song of praise; with her let us magnify the Lord for the wonders which he continues to work in the life of the Church and of each one of us. In particular, it was and remains for all a cause of great joy and gratitude to have begun this Marian month with the memorable Beatification of John Paul II. What a great gift of grace for the entire Church this great Pope’s life has been! His witness continues to illuminate our lives and spurs us to be true disciples of the Lord, to follow him with the courage of faith, to love him with the same enthusiasm with which Pope Wojtyla gave him his very life.

Meditating today on the Visitation of Mary, we are led to reflect on precisely the courage of faith. She, whom Elizabeth receives into her home, is the Virgin who “believed” the Angel’s message and responded with faith, bravely accepting God’s plan for her life and so welcoming within her the Eternal Word of the Most High. As my Blessed Predecessor underlined in his Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, it was through faith that Mary proclaimed her fiat, “she entrusted herself to God without reserve and ‘devoted herself totally as the handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son’” (n. 13; cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium LG 56). This is why, in greeting her, Elizabeth exclaims: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lc 1,45). Mary truly believed that “with God nothing will be impossible” (1:37) and, on the strength of this faith, she, in daily obedience, allowed herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit in his plans. How can we not wish for own lives the same abandonment to trust? How could we cut ourselves off from a happiness that is born of such an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus? Therefore, turning today to the One, “full of grace”, let us ask her to obtain from Divine Providence for us, too, the ability to say “yes” to the plans of God with the same humble and pure faith with which she did. May she, who, by welcoming within her the Word of God, entrusted herself to him without reserve, guide us to an ever more generous and unconditional response to his plans, even when in them we are called to embrace the cross.

In this Easter Season, as we call upon the Risen one for the gift of his Spirit, let us entrust the Church and the whole world to the motherly intercession of Our Lady. May Mary Most Holy, who together with the Apostles in the Upper Room invoked the Consoler, obtain for every baptized person the grace of a life illumined by the mystery of God, Crucified and Risen, the gift of knowing how to accept ever more in our own lives the Lordship of the One who through his Resurrection has vanquished death. Dear Friends, upon each one of you, upon your hearts, especially upon those suffering, I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing.




Question - Your Holiness, you have been to Croatia several times and your Predecessor made three journeys to this country. Can one speak of a special relationship between the Holy See and Croatia? What are the reasons and the most significant aspects of this relationship and this journey?

Answer - I have been to Croatia twice. The first time was for the funeral of Cardinal Šeper — my predecessor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — who was a great friend of mine, he was also President of the Theological Commission of which I was a member. I was therefore acquainted with his kindness, his intelligence, his discernment and his cheerfulness. And this also gave me an idea of Croatia itself because he was a great Croat and a great European. And then I was invited to go there a second time by his private secretary Capek, also a very good and cheerful man, for a symposium and a celebration at a Marian shrine.

There I experienced a popular piety which, I must say, is very like that in my own region. And I was very happy to see this embodiment of the faith: a faith lived with the heart, where the supernatural becomes natural and the natural is illuminated by the supernatural. And so it was that I saw and experienced this Croatia, with her 1,000-old Catholic history, always very close to the Holy See and, of course, with her ancient Church’s long history. I saw that there is a very profound brotherhood in faith, in the will to serve God for man, in Christian humanity. In this regard I think there is a natural connection in this true catholicity which is open to all and transforms the world — or aspires to transform the world — in accordance with the ideas of the Creator.

Question - Holy Father, Croatia is about to join the 27 nations that belong to the European Union. However in recent times a certain sceptism has crept into the Croatian people’s perception of the Union. In this situation are you planning to give the Croatians a message of encouragement so that their outlook on Europe is not solely economic but also cultural, based on Christian values?

Answer - I believe the majority of Croatians thinks essentially with great joy of the time when Croatia will join the European Union, because it is a profoundly European nation. Cardinal Šeper, Cardinal Kuharic and Cardinal Bozanic, always said to me: “We are not the Balkans, we are Mitteleuropa”. Hence Croatia is a people in the heart of Europe, part of its history and its culture.

In this regard — I think — it is logical, good and necessary for it to join the Union. I also think that the prevalent sentiment is joy at being where, historically and culturally, Croatia has always been. One can of course also understand a certain scepticism in a relatively small nation on entering this ready-made, ready-built Europe. It is understandable that there may be fear of an excessively strong centralizing bureaucracy or of a rationalistic culture that might not take sufficiently into account its history, rich heritage or the riches of its historical diversity.

It seems to me that this may also be a mission of this people entering now: to renew their diversity in unity. The European identity is an identity of its own, formed of the wealth of the different cultures that converge in the Christian faith, in the great Christian values.

If these are once again to be visible and effective, it seems to me that it is also a mission of Croats who are now entering it to reinforce — against a certain abstract rationalism — the historicity of our cultures and our diversity, which is our wealth. I encourage Croats in this perspective: the process of entering Europe is a reciprocal process of giving and receiving. Croatia gives too, with its history, with its human and economic capacity, and naturally receives, thereby also broadening its horizons and living in this great exchange which is not only financial but also cultural and spiritual.

Question - Many Croats were hoping that the canonization of Bl. Cardinal Stepinac might take place during your visit. What in your view is the most important aspect of this man today?

Answer - The Cardinal was a great pastor and a great Christian, hence also a man of exemplary humanism. I would say that Cardinal Stepinac was destined to live in two contrasting dictatorships, both of which seemed anti-humanist: first the Ustaša regime which appeared to be making the dream of autonomy and independence come true but was in fact false, because Hitler exploited it for his own aims. Cardinal Stepinac was well aware of this and defended true humanism against this regime, protecting Serbs, Jews and gypsies. He was an example — let us say — of the strength of true humanism, suffering.

Then there was the counter dictatorship of Communism, under which he once again fought for the faith, for God's presence in the world, for true humanism which is dependent on God's presence; man alone is the image of God and so humanism flourishes.

This — let us say — was his destiny: to fight in two different and contrasting battles and in this very decision for what was true, contrary to the spirit of the times, for this true humanism which comes from the Christian faith. He is an important example not only for Croatians but for us all.

WELCOMING CEREMONY Pleso International Airport, Zagreb Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mr President,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Distinguished Authorities,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It gives me great joy to come among you as a pilgrim in the name of Jesus Christ. I offer my most cordial greetings to the beloved land of Croatia, and as Saint Peter’s Successor I warmly embrace all its inhabitants. In particular, I greet the Catholic community: the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and the lay faithful, especially the families of this land where the preaching of the Gospel has borne fruit, bringing hope of life and salvation for all. I extend a respectful greeting to you, Mr President, and to the other civil and military Authorities gathered here. I thank you, Mr President, for the kind words you have addressed to me and I offer you my best wishes for the high office entrusted to you, and for the peace and prosperity of the whole Nation.

At this time, my thoughts go back to the three pastoral visits to Croatia made by my beloved predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, and I thank the Lord for the long history of faithfulness that links your country to the Holy See. For over thirteen centuries, those strong and special bonds have been put to the test and strengthened in circumstances that were sometimes difficult and painful. This history is an eloquent testimony to your people’s love for the Gospel and the Church. From its earliest days, your Nation has formed part of Europe, and has contributed, in its unique way, to the spiritual and moral values that for centuries have shaped the daily lives and the personal and national identity of Europe’s sons and daughters. In the face of the challenges posed by today’s culture – marked as it is by social differentiation and instability, and by an individualism that gives rise to a vision of life without obligations and a constant search for “private space” – there is a need for convinced witness and active dynamism aimed at promoting the fundamental moral values that underpin social living and the identity of the old Continent. Twenty years after the declaration of independence and on the eve of Croatia’s full integration into the European Union, this country’s remote and recent history can stimulate reflection on the part of all the other peoples of the Continent, helping them, individually and collectively, to preserve and to inject new life into that priceless common heritage of human and Christian values. So may this beloved Nation, in the strength of its rich tradition, help to steer the European Union towards a fuller appreciation of those spiritual and cultural treasures.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, with the motto “Together in Christ”, I have come to join you in celebrating the First National Day of Croatian Catholic Families. May this important event serve as an opportunity for proposing afresh the values of family life and the common good, for strengthening unity, renewing hope and leading people to communion with God, the foundation of fraternal sharing and social solidarity. In anticipation, I sincerely thank all those who have helped with the preparation and organization of my visit. In view of the challenges confronting the Church and civil society today, I invoke upon this land and all its inhabitants the intercession and assistance of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the beloved and venerable Shepherd of your people. May he accompany the young generations as they strive to live by that charity which prompted the Lord Jesus Christ to give his life for all people. May Saint Joseph, watchful guardian of the Redeemer and heavenly Patron of your Nation, together with the Virgin Mary, “Fidelissima Advocata Croatiae”, obtain for you peace and salvation, today and always. Thank you!

Speeches 2005-13 451