Serbian prelate says Pope wishes to resolve controversy over Bl. Cardinal Stepinac
January 21, 2016
After a meeting with Pope Francis, a Serbian Orthodox prelate said that the Pope was anxious to resolve tensions surrounding the possible canonization of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.
Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro said that he had presented the Pontiff with a request asking for a joint Catholic-Orthodox commission to investigate the record of Cardinal Stepinac. The Serbian prelate said that Vatican officials had “listened carefully” and he hoped they would soon agree to establish such a commission.
Cardinal Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb during World War II, was an implacable opponent of—and ultimately a martyr to—the Communist regime. Soviet propagandists charged that he had sided with the fascist Ustase government against Serbian nationalists, and Serbian Orthodox leaders remain firmly opposed to his canonization.
During a visit to Croatia in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI defended Cardinal Stepinac’s memory, saying that “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.”
- "Pope interested in resolving Stepinac canonization issue" (B92)
- Serbian Orthodox delegation meets with Pope (CWN, 1/19)
- Serbian patriarch reportedly opposed to canonization of Croatian cardinal (CWN, 7/2/14)