DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY September 29, 1998 vol. 9, no. 190
NEWS & VIEWS
CROATIANS DEFEND WWII-ERA CARDINAL AGAINST ACCUSATIONS
ZAGREB (CWNews.com) - Croatia's president on Sunday rebuffed attempts by international groups to block this week's beatification of a wartime cardinal, defending his support of the Nazi-backed Croatian World War II government.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told the Catholic magazine Mi in an article published on Sunday that Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac did not support the Croatian government's fascist tactics. "Stepinac supported the right of the Croatian people to have their own state," Tudjman said. "But he decisively opposed ... fascist methods."
While the cardinal initially backed the government of Ante Pavelic, by 1942 he was denouncing its genocidal policies and repression of freedoms. His own journals, and current studies, detail his efforts to save the lives of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies targeted by the government.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris last week called on
Pope John Paul II to delay his planned beatification of the
cardinal, scheduled for this weekend, until now-closed
Vatican archives can be examined by a third-party. The
Vatican has in the past refused to open its secret
archives, saying they contain details of private,
sacramental matters. Some Serbs and Jews continue to view
Cardinal Stepinac as a war criminal, and after the war he
was tried by Yugoslavia's Communist government and
sentenced to jail. He died under house arrest in 1962.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS