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Pope speaks on Euro-skepticism, notes EU bureaucracy

CWN - June 06, 2011

In a conversation with reporters who accompanied him on a June 4 flight to Croatia, Pope Benedict XVI said that Croatia’s entry into the European Union should help to reinforce the sense of Europe’s Christian heritage.

“European identity is precisely an identity of the richness of diverse cultures, which converge in the Christian faith,” the Pope said. “It seems to me that it is one of the missions of the Croatians who enter in now: to make this visible and efficient.”

Answering a reporter’s question about the growing skepticism toward the European Union, the Pope said that attitude was understandable in light of “a central bureaucracy that may be too heavy, or of a rationalistic culture which does not take history sufficiently into account.” He said that Croatia, with its deep roots in Christian faith, might help to counterbalance “a certain abstract rationalism.”

In response to another question about the controversial legacy of Blessed Aloizije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb during World War II and its aftermath, Pope Benedict defended the Croatian prelate against the charge that he cooperated with the fascist Ustase regime. The Ustase regime was Hitler’s pawn, the Pope said. “Cardinal Stepinac understood this very well and defended true humanism against this regime, defending Serbs, Jews, Gypsies.” Later, the Pontiff continued, Cardinal Stepinac also opposed the Communist regime—thereby incurring its hostility, and becoming a target for the propaganda that gave rise to subsequent charges against him.

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