DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     June 14, 1999     vol. 10, no. 114


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

65.   Cardinal Franjo Kuharic

          Regarded as the "Rock of Croatia" Cardinal Franjo Kuharic guided his nation as its only Cardinal and Archbishop of Zagreb for nearly thirty years, helping bring this Catholic country out of the throes of communistic repression. Despite the persecution over the years this former constituent republic of Yugoslavia is 80% Catholic today with 3,611,000 out of a total population of 4,500,000. Born in Pribic, Croatia on April 15, 1919 he was the youngest of thirteen children but was not ignored. Rather he was encouraged to consider a vocation to the priesthood which he did in 1931 when he was only twelve years-old. After minor and major seminary in Zagreb, he was ordained there on July 15, 1945 and assigned to a parish controlled by the Communist government which had usurped Croatia after the Nazis were defeated in World War II. After walking the tightrope with the Nazis, now the Marxists were in control and Fr. Kuharic had to tread lightly under the rule of Marshall Josip Broz Tito

          Rather than stay low-key during the Tito regime, Fr. Kuharic was appointed a year later as pastor both of the parish he had been sent to as well as a neighboring one where the pastor had been executed by the communists. A year later a group of radical Marxists tried to end his life on February 22, 1947 but he escaped the ambush and miraculously came through it physically unscathed. After various pastoral assignments where he was always looking over his shoulder while tending to his flocks during this "captivity," Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Meta on February 15, 1964 and he was installed as bishop three months later on May 3rd. Five years later he was named to head up the Yugoslav Episcopal Conference, a position as President he would be re-elected to four times.

          On June 16, 1970 he was promoted to Archbishop of Zagreb, a position he held until resigning for age reasons on July 5, 1997. He received the honor of the cardinalate during Pope John Paul II's second Consistory of February 2, 1983 when he was given his red-hat and the titular church of St. Jerome of the Croats. He still holds curial membership in the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments and the Congregation for the Clergy. As President of the Yugoslav Conference he was the man who took charge of the Medjugorje investigation after the Holy See took it out of the authority of Mostar ordinary Bishop Paveo Zanic in an unprecedented move. Though there was a plethora of erroneous reports that the Commission found the apparitions not worthy of consideration, for the Cardinal has affirmed that the entire conference has taken a positive stance to Medjugorje and has remained thus throughout. Cardinal Kuharic resides in retirement at Kaptol 31, p.p. 553, 10000, Zagreb in Croatia. Throughout the war in the earlier part of this decade he remained the steady rock encouraging the people toward prayer and peace.

June 14, 1999       volume 10, no. 114


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