Saturday, June 04, 2011
Image via WikipediaWhole article Pope backs Croatia's EU bid upon arrival in Zagreb - CBS News
Benedict said it was "logical, just and necessary" that Croatia join the EU given Croatia's history and culture is so strongly rooted in that of Europe.
"From its earliest days, your nation has formed part of Europe, and has contributed in its unique way to the spiritual and moral values that for centuries have shaped the daily lives and the personal and national identity of Europe's sons and daughters," Benedict said upon arrival at Zagreb's airport.
But he acknowledged in comments to reporters aboard the papal plane that a certain fear or skepticism of joining the EU is understandable given Croatia is a small country entering into a large, already-formed bloc with values that long ago strayed from Europe's Christian heritage.
"One can understand there is perhaps a fear of an overly strong centralized bureaucracy and a rationalistic culture that doesn't sufficiently take into account the history — the richness of history and the richness of the diverse history" that Croatia offers, he said.
He urged Croatians to make as their "mission" the fight against this and reintroduce into the EU the "richness of diverse cultures" that Christianity represents.
"There is a need for convinced witness and active dynamism aimed at promoting the fundamental moral values that underpin social living and the identity of the old continent," Benedict said.
Given the difficulty that Croatia had extracting themselves from Yugoslavia, that they would be a little more cautious about EU membership.