Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has invited Pope Francis to visit Croatia during an audience on Saturday.
Plenkovic kicked off his visit to the Vatican with an audience with Pope Francis. The Croatian PM, who told reporters before the visit that it was “one of the most important events in his life”, extended an invitation to the Pope to make his first visit to Croatia.
According to a statement issued by the Vatican, the PM and the Pope discussed the work of the joint commission of the Croatian Bishop’s conference (HBK) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), whose goal was “the joint re-interpretation of the character of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepanic.”
According to sources, the two sides aim at reaching a common position on Stepanic, and also find a compromise which brings both sides on common grounds. It further added that Pope Francis in person will without a doubt notify the Serbian Orthodox Church about his opinion before its officially announced.
Plenkovic told reporters after his meeting that he believes the decision about canonization was near, and that he repeated the invitation of his predecessors for Pope Francis to visit Croatia.
He further pointed out “that would mean a lot to the Croatian people, to those that respect him and look forward to his visit. I got the impression that this will take place, it is up to him to choose the time that would be best for such a visit," said the Prime Minister in a statement for Croatian reporters in the Vatican.
The pope also received Plenkovic's family and the rest of the Croatian delegation. Plenkovic gave him a bronze statue of St. Joseph with Jesus. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the Croatian people under a June 1687 decision of the Croatian parliament.
Pope Francis presented Plenkovic with an olive branch sculpture.