news 23 Jan 14

Bosnian Speculation Mounts Over Papal Visit

Although Bosnia's Catholic leader has not confirmed he is coming, there are reports that Pope Francis on June 21 will visit Sarajevo and broadcast a message of world peace - on the centenary of the Sarajevo assassination that triggered World War 1.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Following reports that Pope Francis is coming to Sarajevo on June 21, Cardinal Vinko Puljic said that while he hoped the information was true, a papal visit has not been confirmed.

“I hope that Pope Francis will come on a pastoral visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina but I still have no official confirmation for it,” Puljic said.

He noted that the Bosnian Bishops Conference had sent the Pope an invitation last year to visit the country, as had the three-member state Presidency.

TV in Bosnia's Federation entity reported on January 21 that the Argentinian Pontiff is due to stage a one-day visit in June to Sarajevo, from where he would send a message of peace marking the centenary of the outbreak of the World War I, which was triggered by the assassination in Sarajevo of the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

Pope John Paul II visited Bosnia in 1997 and 2003, the first time in Sarajevo and the second time in Banja Luka.

Catholics are by far the smallest of Bosnia's three main faith groups, Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Catholics.

Almost all Catholics are ethnic Croats. However, Bosnia is home to one of Europe's biggest Catholic shrines, at Medjugorje, in the southwest, near Mostar.

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