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23.01.2018 | 21:22 | IKA E - 196912/1

"Internal Church Dialogue, Cooperation and Shared Responsibility"

Opening Ceremony of the Fifty-Eighth Theological-Pastoral Week in Zagreb

Zagreb, (IKA) – The opening ceremony of the Fifty-Eighth Theological-Pastoral Week, organized by the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, was held on January 23 at the Interdiocesan Seminary in Zagreb. The topic is "Internal Church Dialogue, Cooperation and Shared Responsibility."
Welcoming the participants, the Grand Chancellor of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, Archbishop Josip Cardinal Bozanić of Zagreb, spoke about the topic of this year's Theological-Pastoral Week, "Internal Church Dialogue, Cooperation and Shared Responsibility," noting that it would be worthwhile to study the contributions that previous theological-pastoral weeks had made in the past decades to the promotion of internal Church dialogue in the territory where the Croatian language is spoken. He talked about the Second Synod being held in the Archdiocese of Zagreb, expressing gratitude to Divine Providence "for the exceptional experience of the Church community, for the openness, generosity and commitment of the members of the joint session of the Synod, and for the wealth of ideas and proposals for contributing to the renewal and well-being of the particular Church." He also pointed out that the Synod has specifically addressed the need for more efficient internal Church communication "in order for us to become better acquainted with the Church to which we belong, whose members we are, so that we can come to know the mystery of the Church, its beauty, gifts, successes and dilemmas, weaknesses and shortcomings, when the Church is being called to perform the courageous cleansing and fundamental reform of some of its ancient institutions." He said that the only means of communication in the Church community is dialogue, for which there is no alternative. It must be fostered patiently and with persistence at all levels, beginning with the parish communities, parish councils, associated groups of the faithful and the diocesan decision-making bodies, as well as interdiocesan Church cooperation, especially at the national level. Cardinal Bozanić said that genuine dialogue "teaches understanding and acceptant of legitimate diversity, a type of pluralism that is present in the Church and that represents the wealth and dynamism of internal Church life."
The Grand Chancellor of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Sarajevo, Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljić of Vrhbosna, pointed out in his address that there were never so many means of communication and man has never been so alienated and lonely before. Warning of the danger of the loss of personal communication, Cardinal Puljić said that without heart and soul, there is no dialogue, and emphasized the importance of listening. Listening requires the patience and humility to accept others. In reference to education for dialogue, Cardinal Puljić placed dialogue in the context of the search for the common good, opening ourselves to one another without the loss of our own identity. He spoke of last year's Theological-Pastoral Week, which was about dialogue with the society, while this year's is focused on dialogue within the Church.
The Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Giuseppe Pinto, sent a written greeting to the participants in the Theological-Pastoral Week, and conveyed the "love and blessing of Pope Francis, particularly to the Grand Chancellor Cardinal Bozanić and Dean Mario Cifrak. This year's topic, "Internal Church Dialogue, Cooperation and Shared Responsibility," sounds like a song in which the Pope joins an increasing number of people, families and the Church itself, in order to create reconciled diversity," observed the Nuncio. In reference to the apostolic exhortation Amoris leatitia by Pope Francis, he said that it was a "linguistic event." Something has changed in Church discourse. Therefore, it is interesting to think about the intimacy of the language in which the Pope writes this exhortation. In order to speak about the family and families, it is not necessary to change the teachings but to inculturate general principles. The language of mercy, present in Amoris laetitia, embodies the truth in the life of every person and every family, said the nuncio. "I want this week, like the yeast from the Gospel parable, to produce the best results … with respect to family life and lasting strength for the life of our Christian communities," he said.
Those attending were also greeted by the president of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academic Zvonko Kusić, who spoke about the great role of the Church in creating identity and in the establishment of scientific and cultural institutions. The Vice Rector of the University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Ivana Čuković Bagić, spoke about the role that the Catholic Church has had through history in the establishment of university institutions, which demonstrates the possibility for cooperation between religion and science. She also spoke of the cooperation and dialogue between the clergy and the laity who work in the sciences, and conveyed greetings from the Rector of the University of Zagreb, Damir Boras. Speaking about the theme of the Theological-Pastoral Week, Mayor Milan Bandić of Zagreb said that dialogue is necessary, both within the Church and also within our Croatian society. Unfortunately, there are too many divisions, ideological trenches and insurmountable differences. Our Croatia needs more unity, responsibility and genuine mutual trust, said the mayor of Zagreb, and cited the late theologian Tomislav Šagi Bunić, who said that there is no other path outside of dialogue.
The traditional telegram sent from the Theological-Pastoral Week to Pope Francis included the following: "Although the Church calls for achieving dialogue with everyone, the Second Vatican Council reminds us that it is first necessary 'to foster within the Church herself mutual esteem, reverence and harmony, through the full recognition of lawful diversity. Thus all those who compose the one People of God, both pastors and the general faithful, can engage in dialogue with ever abounding fruitfulness.' Despite the difficulties in achieving unity and sincere dialogue, arising from diversity, but also human limitation and sinfulness, we are aware that 'the bonds which unite the faithful are mightier than anything dividing them.' Therefore, during this Theological-Pastoral Week, we want to think about the face that the Church presents to today's world and its evangelical mission, aware of the requirement for 'unity in what is necessary; freedom in what is unsettled, and charity in any case.'"
In introductory remarks, the Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Mario Cifrak particularly pointed out several key elements when talking about the Church, noting the importance of cooperation and shared responsibility. He also spoke about the Church as the body of Christ and the catechumenate—learning about the faith. In conclusion, he mentioned the need for constantly returning to the Gospel, because without it there is no evangelization. He also personally greeted Professor Emeritus Ivan Golub, who was attending the opening ceremony.
Several hundred archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and the faithful from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries were gathered for the Theological-Pastoral Week, including the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar, as well as representatives from other Christian Churches, religious communities, and the state and municipal authorities.

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