Speeches 1998 - SPEECH TO THE PEOPLE

The Servant of God Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who tomorrow — God willing — I shall raise to the honours of the altar, encouraged the youth of his day: “Pay attention to yourselves and continue to grow up, because without people who are solid and mature from a moral point of view nothing is accomplished. The greatest patriots are not those who shout the loudest, but those who most conscientiously fulfil the law of God” (Homilies, Speeches, Messages, Zagreb 1996, p. 97).

May your youthful enthusiasm, nourished by a profound relationship with God, never fade. In this regard, the same Cardinal Stepinac said to his priests: “Put far from our youth all faint-heartedness, as though it were the plague, for it is unworthy of Catholics, who can boast so great a name as is the name of our God” (Letters from Prison, Zagreb 1998, p. 310).

4. I have ardently desired to make this second Visit to Croatia in order to continue the pilgrimage of faith, hope and peace begun in September 1994. Now, happily, the war is no more. My hope is that there will never again be war in this noble country. May this land, together with the entire region, become an abode of peace: true and lasting peace, which is always built upon justice, respect for others and the coexistence of different peoples and cultures.

Croatia, an integral part of Europe, has definitively closed a painful chapter of its history, leaving behind the terrible tragedies of the twentieth century in order to look towards the new millennium with a fervent desire for peace, freedom, solidarity and cooperation among peoples. I wish to quote here the words spoken by my Predecessor of venerable memory, Pius XII, on 24 December 1939: “A fundamental basis for a just and honourable peace is the guarantee of the life and independence of all Nations, big and small, strong and weak” (AAS, 32 [1940], p. 10). These words retain all their value also in the prospect of the new millennium which is now at the threshold. But they are also words which call upon every individual Nation to model its own juridical system according to what is demanded of the State ruled by law, thanks to the growing respect for the aspirations rooted in the innate dignity of the citizens who make up the State.

It is my hope that the fundamental rights of the person will be ever better recognized and embraced in this country, beginning with the right to life from its very first moments until its natural end. The degree of a Nation’s civilization is measured by the compassion which it shows its weakest and most needy members, and by its commitment to work for their rehabilitation and their full insertion into the life of society.

5. The Church feels called to be part of this process of human promotion. She knows, however, that her first and primary duty is to make her contribution by proclaiming the Gospel and forming consciences. In fulfilling this task she counts on each one of you, dear faithful people who are listening to me today: she counts on your witness and, before all else, on your prayers. It is by prayer, in fact, that we open ourselves to the constant saving presence of God in the life of every person and every people. Communion with God nourishes courage and hope in our hearts. May each one of you rediscover the immense treasures hidden in personal and community prayer!

With all my heart I hope that the people of Croatia will remain faithful to Christ also in the future. This faithfulness holds the secret of true freedom: it is Christ, in fact, who “for freedom . . . has set us free” (Ga 5,1). And this freedom, as one of your poets sings, “is a gift in which God Most High has given us every treasure” (I. Gundulic, Dubravka).

6. Goodbye until tomorrow at the Shrine of Marija Bistrica!

I now invoke the blessing of God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon all of you here present, upon all who have joined us by radio and television, and upon all the people of this country. May the Lord grant you steadfast faith, active harmony and the wisdom to make decisions inspired by the common good.

And may there never disappear from your lips the beautiful greeting which I too now address to you:

Praised by Jesus and Mary!





Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. I am happy to have this opportunity to greet you most cordially and respectfully. At this moment, my thoughts go too to your colleagues who in every part of the country are engaged in the noble toil of searching for the truth in the various fields of knowledge. I warmly greet all of them.

In the programme of my Pastoral Visit to your country, I wanted this brief but, for me, most important meeting with you who represent the world of culture and learning. In this way I can reaffirm the respect and appreciation which the Church has for intellectual effort as an expression of the human spirit’s creativity. I gladly take this opportunity to pay homage to Croatia’s rich cultural tradition, testimony of the Nation’s ancient and profound sense of the good, the true and the beautiful.

I avail myself of this occasion to reflect with you on the specific contribution which Christians, as men and women of culture and learning, are called to make to the further growth of a true humanism in your Nation, as part of the great family of peoples. The task of the Christian in fact is to spread the light of the Gospel throughout society, and hence also in the world of culture.

Through the centuries, Christianity has made an important contribution to the formation of the cultural heritage of the Croatian people. On the threshold of the Third Millennium, therefore, there should be no lack of new and vital energies, ready to give fresh impulse to the promotion and development of the cultural heritage of the Nation, in full fidelity to its Christian roots.

2. Like Europe and the rest of the world, Croatia is passing through a time of great change, a time of exciting perspectives but also of significant problems. It is necessary to respond appropriately to these changes, with a response that comes from a reflection upon the profound truth of man and from the respect due to the moral values which are part of human nature.

In fact, there is no true progress without respect for the ethical dimension of culture, of scholarly research and of all human activity. Today’s ethical relativism, obscuring as it does moral values, leads to modes of behaviour which destroy the dignity of the person. This in turn creates serious problems for truly human development in every aspect of life.

It is also clear that the good of the person, which is the ultimate goal of every cultural and scholarly enterprise, can never be sundered from consideration of the common good. In this regard, I recall the inscription found in the Great Council Hall in Dubrovnik: “Obliti privatorum, publica curate”. It is my hope that the commitment of thinkers and scholars, inspired by true values, will always be seen as a generous and disinterested service of the human person and of society. It must never be bent to serve ends contrary to this supreme goal.

3. Since culture has as its ultimate objective the service of the true good of the person, it is not surprising that, in seeking cultural progress, society finds the Church at its side. The Church too directs her pastoral care towards “the entire reality of the individual person, in the unity of body and soul, heart and conscience, intellect and will” (Gaudium et Spes GS 3). The service of the human person is the meeting-point between the Church and the world of learning and culture.

Down the course of the centuries, this meeting has proven to be singularly fruitful. With its treasury of luminous truths about the various aspects of life, the Gospel has very significantly enriched the answers devised by reason, ensuring that they match more exactly the deepest expectations of the human heart.

Despite the misunderstandings which have arisen at different times, the Church has always been very sensitive to the values of culture and scholarly research. This is what we see in your own history: when in the seventh century your ancestors were baptized and entered the Church, they became at the same time part of the world of Western culture. From then onwards, Croatia experienced constant progress in the field of culture and learning, a progress to which the Church gave decisive support. The contribution which the Church has made to philosophy, literature, music, theatre, science, art is universally recognized, as is the merit she warrants for building schools of every kind: from primary schools to great centres of university learning. The Church intends to pursue this policy in the future, since she considers it an integral part of her service of the Gospel message.

In this region, where different world-views have mingled for centuries, there is need of a continuing common commitment in favour of culture, without indulging in sterile contrasts, but affirming instead attitudes of respect and conciliation. This does not mean a renunciation of one’s own identity and culture. The roots, the heritage and the identity of each people, in which there is something genuinely human, represent a great resource for the international community.

4. The climate of freedom and democracy which emerged in Croatia at the start of this decade permits the re-establishment of faculties of theology in Croatian universities. This will greatly contribute to the promotion of dialogue between culture, scholarship and faith. Universities are the privileged place for a dialogue which can work for the good of the new generation, giving young people direction in their moral choices and their active participation in society. May your schools, and above all your universities, be true power-houses of thought, so that they can train men and women to excel in the various fields of learning, but also prepare people deeply aware of the great mission entrusted to them: that of serving the human person.

One result of the dynamic link between faith and reason will surely be the moral and spiritual re-birth of your country, which for many years was subjected to the devastations of atheistic materialism. This new flourishing of values will be the strongest bastion against today’s challenges of consumerism and hedonism. Thus, on a sound basis of values, the human person, the family and society as a whole will be able to develop in accordance with the truth, experiencing joy and hope, with a gaze that is turned to the eternal destiny which God has prepared for every human being. Thus will be avoided in the future the drama of the separation between culture and the Gospel, which has so troubled our age (cf. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 20).

A culture which rejects God cannot be considered fully human, because it excludes from its vision the One who has created man in his own image and likeness, has redeemed him through the work of Christ, and has consecrated him with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is why the human person, and every aspect of the person, must be the focus of culture in all its forms and the reference-point of every scholarly endeavour.

5. God has given you as a heritage a splendid country, whose National Anthem begins with the words: “Our beautiful homeland”. The duty to respect nature is unmistakable here, the duty to act with a sense of responsibility for the life-giving resources which Providence has given to humanity. The world is the stage on which each of us is called to play our part to the praise and glory of God the Creator and Saviour.

Thirsting for true wisdom, for knowledge of the universe and of the laws which regulate it, fascinated by the true, the good and the beautiful, seek to explore the Supreme Source of all: God, the origin of every truth, who wisely sustains and governs all that exists! May the Word of God illumine your exploration of the paths which lead to the truth. Nurturing a deep love for truth, you will become in your daily undertakings passionate enquirers and ready collaborators of all who are searching for the truth.

6. A special word finally to the men and women of learning and culture who are professing Christians: to them is entrusted the task of ceaselessly evangelizing the world in which they work. Their hearts therefore must be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that “Spirit of truth” who guides us “to the fullness of truth” (cf. Jn Jn 16,13).

This lofty task requires constant study of all that is involved in our attachment in faith to Christ, “the true light who enlightens all people” (Jn 1,9), “the power and wisdom of God” (1Co 1,24). For “all things were created through him and for him; he is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col 1,16-17). May each of you assume this lofty task with pride and make every effort to fulfill it with all generosity.

To the protection of the Holy Mother of God, whom the Church invokes as Seat of Wisdom, I entrust all those who search for the truth with sincerity of heart, and upon all of you I invoke the blessings of God.

From Zagreb, 3 October 1998, the twentieth of my Pontificate





Split, 4 ottobre 1998

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate!

1. I am happy to meet with you after yesterday’s beatification, at Marija Bistrica, of that watchful and courageous Pastor of this land, Alojzije Stepinac. I greet each of you cordially and I thank you for the brave witness offered so steadfastly to the universal Church and to the world, especially during the tragedy which recently struck this region. Through you, I wish to send my heartfelt and affectionate greeting to the priests and deacons who share with you the apostolic burdens from day to day. With the same fervour I wish to express my appreciation of the evangelical witness offered daily by the men and women religious and by all who have given their lives to the service of their brothers and sisters.

Continue with courage your ministry to that portion of the People of God for which you have been appointed priests, pastors and teachers, in communion with the Successor of Peter. I urge you to persevere in imitating all those who, following the Good Shepherd, have offered their lives for Christ’s flock and have worked to build the unity of the Church, as did the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.

2. The communion of all believers is the clearly declared will of our Redeemer. It is the essential element of every apostolate and the foundation of all evangelization. May God grant you “to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice” (Rm 15,5-6) glorify him, building his Kingdom among your people. The Church in Croatia needs to strengthen communion between all its different parts, in order to attain the goals which beckon in the present climate of freedom and democracy.

Initiatives designed to promote genuine collaboration among the various sectors of the Church have all my encouragement, and I exhort everyone to grow more ardent, in openness to communion and obedience to the Pastors. This will benefit the entire Christian community. The ability to work together, with respect for the legitimate demands of each, will not fail to produce abundant fruits of faith, hope and love, and will at the same time be a great witness to everyone of unity in Christ.

Dear Brother Bishops, “the Church is formed by the people united to their Bishop and by the flock which remains faithful to their shepherd” (Saint Cyprian, Epist. 66, 8: CSEL 3, 2, 733). I wish to encourage you therefore in your daily commitment to consolidate that communion in the Church at all levels, striving to ensure that clergy and faithful are dedicated to the teaching of the Apostles and to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (cf. Acts Ac 2,42). Always remain united among yourselves, in communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the other members of the College of Bishops, in particular with those in Bosnia and Hercegovina.

3. The chief task facing your Churches in this moment of history is the renewed proclamation of the Gospel of Christ in every sector of society. It is a task which requires the mobilization of all the Church’s active forces: Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

In recent decades, your country, like other parts of Eastern Europe, has suffered the tragedy produced by atheistic materialism. Today, in the new democratic climate, it is necessary to give strong support to the new evangelization, so that the human person, the family and society as a whole will not be harmed and fall into the trap of consumerism and hedonism. There is a need to proclaim and bear witness to the values which make life authentic and joyful, satisfying the human heart and filling it with hope of the inheritance prepared by God for his children. The Church in Croatia, therefore, is called to rediscover her own religious and cultural roots in order serenely and confidently to cross the threshold of the new Millennium which is now so near.

A further boost to the new evangelization in today’s climate will also come from ecumenical dialogue with the other Churches and Christian communities. In harmony with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Do not tire in your vigorous efforts to promote a dialogue of this kind in the hope of coming one day to a common witness to Christ before the world. At the same time, create opportunities for interreligious dialogue, with a view to eliminating needless misunderstandings and fostering mutual respect and cooperation in the service of the human family.

All of this must be accompanied by intense prayer and by an active and committed sharing in the sacramental life of the Church – especially the Eucharist – by individuals, families and the entire community.

In this time of great shifts and changes, Croatia needs men and women with a living faith, who can bear witness to the love of God for man, and who are prepared to devote their energies to the service of the Gospel. Your nation needs apostles who will go among the people bearing the Good News; Croatia needs prayerful souls who ceaselessly sing the praises of the Most Holy Trinity and raise petitions to “God our Saviour, who wills that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (cf. 1Tm 2,4).

Your nation also needs lay faithful who are committed to spreading the Gospel in the fields of culture and politics. It is the task of the laity to imbue the world in which they work with the Spirit of Christ for the good of society as a whole.

4. In order to respond to these needs in an appropriate way, it is necessary to give special attention to the formation of priests, of religious and of all who labour in the Lord’s vineyard, just as it is to foster an effective pastoral strategy for promoting vocations.

Priests are expected to be genuine, well-integrated and joyful witnesses to Christ and his Gospel, in keeping with the commitments made at the moment of Ordination. Apostolic zeal and pastoral activity must be nourished and sustained by prayer and reflection, so that the priest can first live what he proclaims in word and celebrates daily in the Sacred Mysteries and in the Liturgy of Praise. In this context, the gift of self in celibacy will be for every priest a sign of his unreserved attachment to the plan of the heavenly Father, a plan which the priest makes his own in operative charity and constant communion with Christ the Good Shepherd. The priest’s spirituality will be enriched by various devotions and pious practices such as regular confession, meditation, Eucharistic adoration, the Stations of the Cross and the recitation of the Rosary.

It is also the Bishop’s task to support men and women religious in their total dedication to the Lord, encouraging them to live generously the charism of the Institute to which they belong and to work always in communion with the particular and universal Church.

5. It is necessary then to find the right ways to help the people of our time to understand and accept God’s great plan for humanity. People today need to know and make their own the dignity which God has graciously given them; God who has created them in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen Gn 1,26-27), and has redeemed them by the blood of Christ (cf. Rev Ap 5,9).

In your pastoral activity, the “domestic church” of the family has a special place because “the future of the world and the Church passes through the family” (Familiaris Consortio FC 75). Families will be able to respond to the challenges and the threats of the contemporary world insofar as they are open to God, living “the mystery of unity and fruitful love which unites Christ and the Church” (Lumen Gentium LG 11). A family in which “the parents are for their children the first proclaimers of faith by word and example” (ibid.) will successfully fulfill its mission in today’s world, becoming a place of faith and love after the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

People today need a clear understanding of the nature and vocation of the family. Never grow weary, therefore, of making known the Christian view of marriage and the family. In the light of God’s word, be aware of what needs to be done in the present circumstances. Let it be your concern and the concern of your priests, with the assistance of expert and properly trained persons, to promote intense and sound pastoral care of the family, in which ample space is given to the defence of life according to the teachings of the Magisterium (cf. Familiaris Consortio FC 36). In this respect you must ensure that pastoral workers receive sound training so that they can respond readily to the expectations of engaged and married couples. Be close to families in difficulty, families threatened as communities of love, life and faith, families beset by social and economic problems, or afflicted by suffering.

Nor should the pastoral care of young people be forgotten. The future belongs to them; and well trained young people will be able to build good families, and good families will bring up their children well.

The pastoral care of families, especially as it involves young people, is clearly way of building the future of the Church and of civil society. The promotion of the dignity of the person and of the family, respect for the right to life, which is especially threatened today, together with the defence of the weakest elements of society, must have a special place in your apostolic concerns, all to “give a soul” to modern Croatia.

Faced with the spread of the “culture of death”, which appears above all in the practice of abortion and the growing acceptance of euthanasia, there is a need to advance a new “culture of life”. To this end, there is need of pastoral initiatives designed to help the men and women of our time to rediscover the profound meaning of life, not only of young and healthy life, but also of life when it is struck by illness. God’s word is the true and definitive answer to such questions.

The defence of life is part of the Church’s mission. In fact, “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CEC 1). Today no less than yesterday our brothers and sisters need to know Christ, the One sent by the Father, who has sown in the human heart a seed of new and immortal life, the life of God’s children. Pastoral activity in this area must highlight the order which God has placed in man and in the whole of creation.

6. Dear Brother Bishops, I trust that the Churches over which you preside may always be guided by the Holy Spirit, and may act in accord with his promptings. Together with you, I invoke the protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, Queen of Croatia, and the intercession of all the Saints and Beatified of this region.

With these sentiments, I cordially impart to you, to the clergy, to the men and women religious and to all the faithful of your Dioceses my Apostolic Blessing.

From Split, 4 October in the year 1998, the twentieth of my Pontificate.





Solin, Shrine of Our Lady of the Isle

4 October 1998

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses” (Ac 1,8). These words which Christ spoke before returning to the Father have been chosen as the motto of my Pastoral Visit which is now nearing its end. They are words which have resounded here since apostolic times; and still today they retain all their force thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the men and women of Croatia.

I have come here to Solin after raising the martyr Alojzije Stepinac to the honours of the Altar, at the shrine of Marija Bistrica yesterday. By means of this apostolic journey I have wished to mark the link between your people’s places of faith and devotion, recalling the witness which you as a people have borne to Christ from the first centuries down to our own days.

We are gathered here beneath the gaze of the Our Lady of the Isle, beneath the gaze of the Madonna of the great Croatian Baptismal Vow, at the first Marian Shrine on Croatian soil. We are gathered in the place which preserves important memories of the faith reaching back into the distant history of your people. This place has a unique position in the history of Croatian Catholics and the Croatian nation. Here is the wellspring of your identity; here are your deep Christian roots. This is the place which bears witness to the faithfulness of the Catholics of this region to Christ and to the Church.

2. I thank most sincerely the Metropolitan Archbishop Ante Juric for his kind words of welcome. I greet Cardinal Franjo Kuharic and Cardinal Vinko Puljic, together with my other Brothers in the Episcopate, the clergy, the men and women Religious, the teachers, the representatives of Ecclesial Associations and Movements, and above all the young people whom I see here in great numbers.

Dear friends, I wish to offer you a word of hope, and invite you to remain open, in the Church, to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in order to bear effective witness to Christ, each of you in the context of your own life and work. “You have been anointed by the Holy One and you all have knowledge....you know the truth” (1Jn 2,20-21).

Blessed Alojzije Stepinac offered an extraordinary example of Christian witness. He fulfilled the mission of spreading the Gospel by suffering for the Church, and he sealed his message of faith with his death. He preferred prison to freedom, in order to defend the freedom and the unity of the Church. He had no fear of chains, lest the word of the Gospel be chained.

3. Dear members of Ecclesial Associations and Movements, the lay faithful have a distinctive place in the Church. Because of the Baptism they have received, they are called to share in the Church’s one, universal mission (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 33,38 Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 3), each according to the gifts received. It is necessary therefore to foster a healthy pluralism of types of association, shunning all exclusivism, in order to give room to the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes unceasingly in the Church for the building of the Kingdom of God and for the good of humanity.

The Church in Croatia places great hopes in you. “Do not quench the Spirit” (cf 1Th 5,19). The charism that you have received has been given to you for the good of all, so that all may develop as in a healthy and living body (cf. 1Co 12,12-17 Rm 12,4-5). “We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us” (Rm 12,6).

The special task of the lay Ecclesial Movements and Associations is to promote and sustain the communion of the Church under the guidance of the Bishop, who is “the visible principle and foundation of the unity of each particular Church” (Lumen Gentium LG 22). There is no ecclesial communion unless there is communion with the Bishop: “Episcopo attendite, ut et Deus vobis attendat” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to Polycarp, 6, 1: Funk 1, 250).

4. Dear teachers, to you is entrusted the splendid mission of educating the young, by becoming examples and guides for them. You know that every educational programme must be rich in spiritual, human and cultural values, if it is to attain its proper goal. As I said recently, “a school cannot limit itself to offering young people insights in the different branches of knowledge; it must also help them to seek the meaning of life in the right direction” (Angelus, 13 September 1998).

To invest in the formation of the younger generation is to invest in the future of the Church and the nation. Without a sound formation of the younger generation there can be no reassuring prospects for the future of either the local Church or the Nation. The shape and direction of the future depend in large part upon you educators. The Second Vatican Council declares: “The future of humanity is placed in the hands of those who can transmit to the generations of tomorrow reasons to live and to hope” (Gaudium et Spes GS 31).

Young people need the witness of a love that is capable of self-sacrifice and of patience that perseveres with trust. May love and patience be your strongest arguments. May you always find your inspiration in the divine pedagogy of Christ Jesus, who teaches us through his Gospel.

In urging you to give the best of yourselves to the fulfilment of your duty, I cannot fail to express the hope that society will make good use of your professional commitment and recognize it for what it is. On behalf of the Church, I wish to express to you deep appreciation for your valued service in a field as delicate and decisive as the formation of those setting out on life’s journey.

5. A special word is due to you, dear catechists and teachers of religion. In schools and parishes, you are called upon to help the younger generation to know Christ, to be able to follow him and bear witness to him. You are called to help the young to take their place in the Church and society, and to overcome, in the light of the Gospel, the difficulties which they meet on their way to human and spiritual maturity.

In proposing to the young reasons for living and hoping, the catechist is called to offer them a deeper and clearer knowledge of God and of the history of salvation, which culminated in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The central focus of all that the catechist and teacher of religion does is found in the proclamation of the Word of God, in the effort to stir up faith and bring it to maturity. Catechesis and religious instruction must be that opportunity for witness which will establish between teacher and student a true and deep contact, capable of fostering faith.

6. It remains for me to say one more word, the last but perhaps the most important of all. It is directed to you, dear young people. It is a brief word, but it is essential. It is this: Jesus Christ is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (cf. Jn Jn 14,6). He never lets anyone down; and he is the best friend of the young. Allow yourselves to be conquered by him (cf. Phil Ph 3,12), so that you may lead a truly meaningful life, as actors in a marvellous and splendid adventure, filled with love of God and neighbour (cf. Mt Mt 22,37-40). The future is in your hands: your own future, but also the future of the Church and the Nation. In the years ahead, you will have to face great responsibilities. You will be able to tackle your future tasks if you prepare yourselves properly now, with the help of your families, the Church and your educational centres.

Learn to find your proper place in the Church and in society, by generously accepting the responsibilities entrusted to you now in the family and outside of it. This is the best way to prepare yourselves for the tasks of tomorrow. Never forget that anything in your lives which is not in tune with God’s plan for the human person is doomed sooner or later to failure. It is only with God and in God that people can find complete fulfilment and attain the fullness to which they tend from the depths of their hearts.

One of your poets has written: “Felix, qui semper vitae bene computat usum” (M. Marulic, Carmen de Doctrina Domini Nostri Iesu Christi Pendentis in Cruce, v. 77). It is vital to choose true values, not those which pass, to choose genuine truth, not half- truths and pseudo-truths. Do not trust those who promise you easy solutions. Nothing great can be built without sacrifice.

7. It is time to say farewell. A final greeting to you all, especially to you, the people of Solin: be proud of the treasures of faith which history has entrusted to you. Guard them jealously.

I would like to take my leave of you by quoting the words of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac: “You would be unworthy of the names of your forefathers if you agreed to be separated from the rock upon which Christ has built the Church” (Testament, 1957).

I commend you all to the one who according to the flesh was Mother of the Word made man for our salvation. From this first of her shrines on Croatian soil, may Our Lady of the Isle watch over you, your families and your Nation, and may she sustain you in your witness to Christ in the new millennium which is now so near!

My blessing to you all!

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

Speeches 1998 - SPEECH TO THE PEOPLE