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Croatian leader meets with Pope, presses for canonization of Cardinal Stepinac

April 07, 2016

Pope Francis met on April 7 with Croatia's Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, who reportedly urged the Pontiff to move forward with cause for canonization of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.

A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the "cordial conversation" had touched on Church-state issues, international affairs, and in particular a recent referendum in Croatia upholding the traditional definition of marriage. The statement noted, however, that the discussion had focused on the cause for Cardinal Stepinac, the Cold War martyr who was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1988.

Fears that the canonization of Cardinal Stepinac might be delayed have arisen in Croatia since Pope Francis agreed to form a joint commission of Catholic and Serbian Orthodox members, to investigate complaints about the wartime prelate's involvement with Croatian nationalist groups accused of fascist ties. Cardinal Stepinac remains a polarizing figure, beloved in (mostly Catholic) Croatia and distrusted in (mostly Orthodox) Serbia.

 
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