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Croatian prelate: Pope Francis believes Blessed Stepinac is a saint

January 22, 2016

A Croatian prelate welcomed recent calls for a joint Catholic-Orthodox commission to investigate the record of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898-1960), the cardinal archbishop of Zagreb who was beatified as a martyr by St. John Paul II in 1998.

Blessed Stepinac suffered persecution under the post-World War II Yugoslav Communist regime, and Communist propagandists charged that he had sided with the fascist Ustase government against Serbian nationalists in World War II. Serbian Orthodox leaders remain firmly opposed to his possible canonization.

Archbishop Marin Barisic of Split-Makarska told a Croatian news agency that a commission “can be a gain for everyone if the bridge is re-established because we need this bridge, we do not need walls, but in the present situation I should like for us, the bishops in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, to be more like clerics and less like politicians, lest we reduce faith and the Gospel to politics.”

He added:

I should compare this with cases when the Pope appoints a cardinal and then, owing to certain circumstances, does not publicly reveal his name but appoints him in pectore [in the heart] and, when circumstances permit, declares his appointment.

The Pope is doing something similar here. The cardinal is a saint, the Pope is keeping his canonization in pectore and intends to declare it to everyone loudly and clearly when certain problems, controversial for some, are resolved …

I agree with the remonstrance that Stepinac did not do everything. Who can say that he has done everything in his life? This can only be said by the One, who on the cross uttered ‘It is finished.’ Every other person is limited and sinful.


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