Archbishop Barišić: “Canonization of Cardinal Stepinac Is Not in Doubt”

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Dalmatian archbishop certain of Cardinal Stepinac canonization. 

The Split-Makarska Archbishop Marin Barišić said that the canonization of Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac is not in doubt, regardless of the objections made by the Serbian Orthodox Church whose delegation recently visited Pope Francis in Rome, reports Vecerni List on January 24, 2016.

Pope Francis proposed the establishment of a joint commission composed of representatives of the Catholic Church in Croatia and the Serbian Orthodox Church in order to consider the role of Cardinal Stepinac. “As for our Cardinal Stepinac, his canonization is not in question”, said Archbishop Barišić. “I would compare it with cases when the Pope appoints a cardinal, but then due to certain circumstances he does not declare it publicly, but appoints him ‘in pectore’, and then, when the conditions are right, he declares it publicly. The Cardinal is a saint, he is held ‘in pectore’ and it will be announced publicly loud and clear when some of the problems, which are controversial for some, are resolved”, explained the Archbishop his position on the canonization of Cardinal Stepinac.

Talking about the criticism from the Serbian Orthodox Church with regards to the role of Cardinal Stepinac, Archbishop Barišić said that no man is perfect. “There are complaints that Stepinac did not do everything – and I agree. Who in their life can say that they have done everything? If those were to be the criteria, than not even Jesus Christ would be canonized”, said Archbishop Barišić.

According to him, people should be reasonable and fair while discussing Cardinal Stepinac and not reduce the issue to politics. Speaking about the recent meeting of the Serbian Orthodox Church delegation with Pope Francis, Archbishop Barišić said that Orthodox representatives have probably presented some of the names for the commission which will discuss the role of Cardinal Stepinac during the times in which he lived. He noted that he was glad that Pope Francis is so open. “I believe it could be a win for everyone if we are to re-establish the bridge which is so necessary, since we do not need walls. But, I would like that in the current situation, we the bishops of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church be more clerics and less politicians”, added the Archbishop.

He said that the Pope’s meeting with the Serbian delegation will contribute to more honest relations between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in Croatia. He recalled that the last meeting between the two churches took place in 2002 in Osijek and that the 2003 meeting, which was supposed to be hosted by the Serbian Orthodox Church, never happened. “I would prefer that we meet more often, because then this meeting with the Holy Father would have even greater significance and effectiveness”, said Archbishop Barišić. “The prayers for Christian unity have started, and I believe that they will also contribute to the maturing of us in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church”, concluded the Archbishop.


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