Stepinac Issue Could Become a Bridge between Nations

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Can Stepinac reconcile the irreconcilable?

Marin Barišić, Archbishop of Split-Makarska, told reporters on Saturday in Split that he would like for Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac to become a saint of dialogue and unity in diversity. The involvement of the Holy See in overcoming the disagreements about him between the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, he believes, could bring Cardinal Stepinac to the attention of other nations, churches and states, reports Dalmacija News on March 13, 2016.

Referring to the recent visit of the delegation of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference to Pope Francis, Archbishop Barišić said he thinks it is good that “our bishops informed the Pope about the members of the working group”. He added it was important to establish an optimal date to conclude the work of the group, as this issue cannot remain open forever.

Asked whether there is any specific deadline by which Cardinal Stepinac should be canonized, Archbishop said there will be several joint meetings of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church working group, but these discussions will not go on for years. In his opinion, this will be a short-term process.

Archbishop Barišić also pointed out that the resolution of the existing disagreements between the two churches could contribute to a better relationship between them. “It might not seem so in the beginning, but the final outcome will be a better relationship between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and, I would say, between Croatia and Serbia as well”, Barišić explained.

Reporters wanted to know if the recent meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana could affect the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church. “I believe that it could contribute to it, because it is all connected. The top has an effect on the base in some way”, Archbishop Barišić said.

Barišić opened the 12th edition of the Days of Christian Culture in Split. The ceremony was followed by the opening of the exhibition titled “Alojzije Stepinac in Pictures and Words”.


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