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Original scientific paper


Miroslav AKMADŽA ; Hrvatski institut za povijest Podružnica za povijest Slavonije, Srijema i Baranje

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page 141-158

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In August 1980 Presidency of Yugoslavia sent an invitation to Pope John Paul II. However, when Pope declared that he would like to visit Yugoslavia during the Eucharistic congress in Maria Bistrica (1984), Yugoslav authorities denied this initiative, which also has repeated
in 1985. Namely, Yugoslav authorities assumed that such a visit, while Yugoslavia was enduring a heavy economic crisis and national turbulences, would not be politically opportune. Therefore, Yugoslav authorities did not withdraw the invitation, while at the same time they were diplomatically trying to postpone the papal visitation, in order to
prevent its realization completely. Namely, Yugoslav authorities believed that the papal visitation would strengthen position of
the Catholic Church within the society, and that this could be utilized by the political opposition of Yugoslavia, which had to be avoided in any case, especially during the 1980s while Yugoslavia was experiencing economic and political crisis. By the same token, they were quite aware that an explicit denial of the icnvitation could provoke a negative public opinion, and therefore they were trying to condition such a form of the papal visitation, which should be unacceptable to the Church. At the same time, Yugoslav authorities were plotting such a plan, in which even if the Church would accept all the conditions, then they would require additional amenability of the Yugoslav bishops towards the state and authorities. On the other hand, the Holy See truly wanted to realize this visit, since this was in accordance with its »Eastern policy«, i.e. strengthening the Catholic Church position in the eastern European communist countries. Namely, after the visit to Poland, it seemed that Yugoslavia was the most suitable country for the next papal visitation, especially
since Vatican had formally good diplomatic relations with the Yugoslav authorities. Consequently, since all the papal attempts failed, the Holy See in 1985 decided give up the visit. Thus, Pope did not manage to visit socialistic Yugoslavia, but in the following years after dissolution of Yugoslavia, John Paul II has visited Croatia three times and Bosnia
and Herzegovina one time.


Pope John Paul II; Presidency of Yugoslavia; Holy See; Eucharistic congress in Marija Bistrica; Franjo Kuharić

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