According to Croatian media, the Vatican shall declare Alojzije Stepinac a saint by the end of the year, as his cause met the last condition for canonisation… the competent Medical Commission determined one case of a “miraculous healing through Blessed Alojzije Stepinac’s intercession”.
Efraim Zurof, the Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem, said in announcing a letter of protest to the Vatican, “We should state that all associates of Ante Pavelić, all those who supported the policy of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), are war criminals, not saints. As soon as we learn more on this, we’ll address a letter of protest to the Vatican. This is outrageous! I don’t know how come, and about the process, but it’s on Pope Francisco to make the right decision”.
Dr Veljko Djuric Mišina, historian and director of the Belgrade Museum of Genocide Victims explained, “Stepinac was the ranking military vicar for the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) armed forces; therefore, he’s responsible and bore the blame for the monstrous crimes of Catholic priests in the Ustaša militia and Domobrani units. He advocated the forcible conversion of Orthodox Serbs [in Croatia]; in a mid-1943 letter to Pope Pius XII Pacelli, he related the forcible conversion of some 244,000 Serbs… and that’s one of his ‘good points’. There isn’t any evidence that Stepinac ever protested against the crimes committed against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) or against those committed against the Serbian and Jewish peoples. His intervention remained limited to only a few cases, even though he acknowledged what was going on in concentration camps throughout Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, being aware of the murder of many thousands Serbs, Jews, and Roma. Certain Croatian and German claims that Stepinac protested and intervened against Nazi crimes in Croatia are dishonest, as not a single notation of such is in his papers or in his diary, which are in the BIA archives in Belgrade, earlier, they were in the UDBA archives. After World War II, Tito (a Croat) and Bakarić (another Croat) made a backdoor deal, so, the monstrous Bishop wasn’t tried for crimes against Serbs, Jews, and Roma, but for ”pronounced anti-communism, hiding treasures and archives of the Ustaša régime, and for aiding terrorist groups infiltrated into Yugoslavia“.
Historian Predrag Markovic emphasised the risk in perceiving Stepinac as a victim of the communist government, as an ordinary Catholic priest who merely followed Pius XII’s policy, whose crime laid in not speaking out against the Holocaust, saying, “We have similar cases in Estonia and Hungary; they rehabilitated Nazi criminals under the guise of rehabilitating victims of communism. However, Stepinac was a far more complex personality than the majority thinks. He wasn’t a criminal, but we can talk about his personal responsibility for abetting the suffering of over a million victims in the NDH. After all, the Ustaša killed his brother”. Archpriest Velibor Džomić of the SPC said, “It’s their (Catholic) decision about who they declare saints. If they want to make Alojzije Stepinac a saint… well, I think that he’s far from embodying the Christian virtues that adorn all the holy men that we learn about in the Gospels”.
12 February 2014
M R Petrović
Milojko Budimir, the President of the Association of Croatian Serbs, said that the Vatican’s intention to declare Stepinac a saint is fiercely condemned by the descendants of those whose fathers and grandfathers experienced the heinous crimes of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) (1941-45). He pointed up that Stepinac supported these atrocities within the Catholic Church, saying, “It’s a proven fact that Stepinac called on his clergy to support and defend the Catholic State of Croatia and that he was aware of the atrocities at Jasenovac and other camps around the NDH, but he didn’t publicly oppose them. Even after the liberation, Stepinac didn’t change his mind, which is why the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of Croatia sentenced him to 16 years in prison and the loss of civil and political rights for three years, but they commuted his sentence to house arrest. This seems to me to that they rewarded him for his contribution to the NDH’s creation and for the crimes committed against Serbs, Jews, Roma, and others who opposed the fascist state. During this time, including physical liquidation, they violently repressed 250,000 Orthodox Serbs, who didn’t have a choice in the matter. I hope that progressive forces amongst Catholics could organise, oppose such an action, and stop this shameful canonisation, for this person was no saint, he did nothing to deserve such”.
The Vatican officially confirmed that it would soon declare Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac a saint. In Rome, at Mass commemorating the 54th anniversary of Stepinac’s death in Krašić, held at the Chiesa San Girolamo dei Croati a Ripetta at the Pontifical Croatian College of St Jerome, Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, announced that Pope Francisco declared that Stepinac would be a saint, based on the findings of a medical commission that found that the “Blessed” interceded for a “miraculous healing” of a believer. We expect that Stepinac’s canonisation will occur later this year.
12 February 2014
Blic is a mid-market tab… in orientation, it’s centre-left, with populist leanings. Therefore, I wouldn’t discount this report, but I’d wait for more Vatican confirmation before going ballistic about it. As for Francisco… nothing will change that I find his politics and societal stance congenial. However, if he allows this canonisation to go through, he’s our enemy. It’d torpedo all chances of any real dialogue with the Vatican. I’d hope that the papists would pull back from this one. Truly, they should… I don’t want to see more petrol tossed on the fire. There’s enough bad blood already, isn’t there? If this does happen, DO NOT take it out on individual papists… they didn’t propose it nor did they approve it. Keep it focused and keep it clean. We can oppose one another without rancour or hate… we’re Christians, after all…