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Serbian patriarch reportedly opposed to canonization of Croatian cardinal

Catholic World News - July 02, 2014

Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has announced his opposition to the possible canonization of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898-1960), according to Serbian media reports.

Letters from the patriarch and Tomislav Nikolic, Serbia’s president, expressing their position on the possible canonization, were handed to Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, during the prelate’s recent visit to Serbia.

Patriarch Irinej reportedly called news of the possible canonization “a great surprise” and said that “in order for someone to be a saint, they must be a truly shining and holy personality and be accepted as such by other Christians.”

Blessed Stepinac served as Archbishop of Zagreb from 1938 to 1960 and was beatified as a martyr by St. John Paul II in 1998. Pope Benedict XVI offered strong praise for Blessed Stepinac during his 2011 apostolic journey to Croatia:

The merits of this unforgettable bishop are derived essentially from his faith: in his life, he always had his gaze fixed on Jesus, to whom he was always conformed, to the point of becoming a living image of Christ, and of Christ suffering. Precisely because of his strong Christian conscience, he knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a defender of the Jews, the Orthodox and of all the persecuted, and then, in the age of communism, an advocate for his own faithful, especially for the many persecuted and murdered priests. Yes, he became an advocate for God on this earth, since he tenaciously defended the truth and man’s right to live with God.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jul. 04, 2014 11:23 AM ET USA

    First it was certain elements of the Jewish faith, with very short memories, telling us not to canonise Pope Pius XII, now certain elements of the Orthodox Church want to tell us who not to canonise. Surely the history surrounding Blessed Stepinac were fully studied in the 1980s.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Jul. 02, 2014 1:55 PM ET USA

    How long will it be before The jihadists also demand veto power over Vatican activities? For that matter, how long before the LGBT lobby does? Oh, wait.

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Jul. 02, 2014 11:11 AM ET USA

    The Ustashi were the Nazis in Croatia. They butchered Orthodox Slavs in the name of anti Communism. There are still lingering questions of whether Stepinac turned a blind eye to this butchery in the name of anti Communism. That is the argument of the good patriarch. Communism ended up winning out due to the rise of Tito. Michovalich was a royalist who was part of the Christian resistance. He was sold out by forces which wanted a moderate Communist. Stepinac is mired in this history.

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