Open Letter To Pope Francis On Canonisation Of Croatia’s Blessed Alojzije Stepinac

25 September 2020

Dear Pope Francis, Servant of the Servants of God,

It is with a heavy heart that I must write to Your Holiness that your ongoing pursuit of dialogue regarding the canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac with the Serbian Orthodox Church and former communists of former Yugoslavia is causing moral chaos within the Croatian congregation of the Roman Catholic Church and wider.

From Australia, I learn from various media sources across the world that you have placed the canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac on hold because, according to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Holy See State Secretary, your trusted and close associate who visited Croatia last week,  you claim that “the canonisation of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac must be a moment of togetherness for the entire Church, and not a reason for conflict or opposition…”. Furthermore, Cardinal Parolin said that in the matter of Stepinac canonisation you have chosen a methodology of trying to get closer to the Serbian Orthodox Church’s point of view on the matter, that dialogue with that Church is crucial for Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac to be canonised.  

The fact remains that you have completed one phase of that dialogue and did not achieve any particular result because the views did not converge between the Catholic and the Serbian Orthodox churches. This, of course is not surprising when it comes to the views of Serbian Orthodox Church, which I believe will never ever back down from its persistent lies and historical fabrications against WWII Croatia and Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. It is without any doubt in my mind that the Serbian Orthodox Church had armed itself with input of people like Predrag Ilic, who wrote the book of historical discussions (Stepinac and the Holocaust in NDH/WWII Croatia), a book of utter historical tripe and cosmetically filtered or adjusted interpretations of historic documentation. I also have no doubt that, should misfortune continue and a second round of talks with the Orthodox Church is held on Stepinac, the Serbian Church will arm itself with the likes of Gideon Greif, a historian evidently on Serbia’s payroll who also wrote books on WWII Croatia (e.g. Jasenovac – Auschwitz of the Balkans) filled with twisting the history against Croats by overwhelmingly avoiding pursuit of facts as they actually were and obviously giving a credence to politically fabricated numbers of victims since WWII.

I would like to think that among other factual historical evidence on Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, you have made yourself aware of the independent research of WWII Croatia conducted by Esther Gitman and her books that have been published in the past two decades (e.g. “When Courage Prevailed – the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941 – 1945” or “Alojzije Stepinac – Pillar of Human Rights”). Esther Gitman’s findings on Cardinal Stepinac require no historical discussions, they require no interpretations because they are represented as facts found; as the truth. Esther Gitman’s factual discoveries about Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s work during WWII are indeed an ample demonstration of the Servant of God that he was. Same may be said for Robin Harris’s book “Stepinac – His Life and Times”. Our Catholic Church needs nothing more and nothing else to take a look at the Servant of God that Stepinac was, although there are ample other books and research papers that corroborate Stepinac’s existence, sacrifice and courage of a true Servant of God that our Catholic Church has for centuries listed among its saints.

I strongly believe that I am not the only person in the world, far from it, who considers that your pursuit of dialogue with the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the canonisation is fundamentally wrong on many fronts as far as the Roman Catholic congregation is concerned and as far as justice is concerned, including:

Firstly, it is wrong to place Pope John Paul II beatification in 1998 of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac on such degraded ground. Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul II, did not need to justify to any other than the Catholic Church his and Roman Catholic Church’s convictions at the time as to deserved merits for Cardinal Stepinac within his and our Church and faith! The “history”  Your Holiness pointed out existed at times of John Paul II only he was not as wealthy in the knowledge of facts as you are today; Pope John Paul II did not have the benefit of facts discovered about Blessed Alojzije Stepinac only after the communist Yugoslavia ceased to be and historical archives opened up and still knew the fact that Stepinac was truly a Servant of God.

Secondly, it is utterly wrong and cruel towards the Croatian people who fought for freedom and independence from the scourge of and aggression by Greater Serbia politics, always deeply rooted within the Serbian Orthdox Church, to decide upon the Sainthood of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac under a condition that Serbs might agree with that decision. No, Your Holiness, Croatians did not exchange moral or cultural values with the Serbian Orthodox Church – ever. Whenever Serbs invaded or attacked Croatia (whether by military or politically diplomatic manoeuvres) they destroyed parts of our culture, shook our faith in God, falsified our history, stole our lands…and the Serbian Orthodox Church stood right behind them, encouraging their aggression. It is far from even an inkling of possibility that a dialogue with the Serbian Orthodox Church will result in any consensus on matters where a member of the Croatian people, such as Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, will result in pointing a shining light upon Croats and to the benefit of Croatian people.

Thirdly, in May of 2019 Your Holiness stated that “the canonisation of Stepinac is a historic case. He is a virtuous man for this Church, which has proclaimed him Blessed. But at a certain moment of the canonisation process there are unclear points, historic points, and I should sign the canonisation, it is my responsibility, I prayed, I reflected, I asked advice, and I saw that I should ask Irinej, a great patriarch (of Serbian Orthodox Church), for help…” and I would like to remind you, if you already are not aware that this “great” patriarch, like all of his predecessors in living memory, is a politician as much as he is a priest, most likely a politician more than a priest. Known for his nationalist statements justifying Serbian imperialism—a transgenerational project which underlies every 20th-century war on the territory of former Yugoslavia – Irinej’s wicked observations about Stepinac, that he “did not want to hear the children’s cry” in concentration camps, are a first-class manipulation and evil fabrication directed at the Croatian Roman Catholic congregation.

Fourthly, it may be a prudent pursuit by Your Holiness to pursue dialogue with non-Catholic Christian communities, to pursue and invigorate relations with the Russian Orthodox Church via the Serbian Orthodox Church as a link, but it is far from acceptable to judge the life of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, as a prerequisite for canonisation, with the information supplied by the Serbian Orthodox Church headed by Irinej, or any other Greater Serbia bandit.  

Fifthly, regarding any talks held with those that since year 2000 may have held or currently hold government power in Croatia or Serbia regarding the canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, please know this: you have more likely than not spoken with former communist party of Yugoslavia members (or their children) who persecuted Croatian practicing Catholics during the life of Former Yugoslavia either by degrading their value to society or taking away their human right to religion, they mass murdered Croatian Catholic priests during and after WWII as well as hundreds of thousands of innocent freedom loving civilians and disarmed soldiers … In short, know this please Your Holiness: these former communists or their offspring, brought up in the communist mindset, are of no value whatsoever when it comes to presenting the truth of Stepinac’s life and deeds, especially those of extraordinary courage and sacrifice in saving thousands of persecuted people of different races and ethnicity during WWII.

Sixthly, if it is true that you are seeking a moment of “togetherness” within the Catholic Church regarding the canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac and in that togetherness you count on those who have started attending Holy Mass after Croatia was victorious in its secession from Communist Yugoslavia, for personal gain in political careers, please abandon that trail to Stepinac’s Sainthood. These men and women will abandon the Church at a drop of a hat should political winds in their country so dictate, just like they did during the life of Former Yugoslavia, just like their fathers and mothers had as followers of the Communist Party. Your Holiness, these people or their parents persecuted Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in 1946 with trumped up charges, not alleging but stamping him falsely as a Nazi collaborator, when the truth was that at the threat to his own life he saved thousands. Do you truly believe that these people will now confess this horrid sin of theirs?

And so, it is with a Christian fortitude and knowledge of forces, particularly those belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church congregation, which have purposefully pursued the destruction of Blessed Stepinac’s good reputation that I write this Open Letter to Your Holiness today, 25th September, on St. Sergius of Radonezh’s Feast Day, the Patron Saint of Russia who worked not only to spread monasticism and the sanctity of monastic life, but also to become a messenger of Christian values in a country then threatened by various internal divisions and external tensions.

God’s commandments are a most welcome help for conscience to get to know the truth and hence to judge verily. God’s commandments are the expression of the truth about our good, about our very being, disclosing something crucial about how to live life well and to bear false witness against our neighbour is a grave sin committed against Blessed Alojzije Stepinac by the Serbian Orthodox Church including Patriarch Irinej.

Your Holiness, Blessed Alojzije Stepinac deserves to bask in the glory of the truth and his name to not endure false witness for a moment longer.

Please announce his canonisation!

So please, Your Holiness, find the courage to stop this impasse in faith and this moral chaos your pursuit of dialogue on the canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac is causing. As the supreme authority of the Catholic Church, it would be one of most important, courageous and Christian act of your entire mandate because it would represent standing firmly on truth and rejecting historical fabrications and falsehoods that have been devastatingly promoted for decades. While we all are desirous of and pray for peace and unity, the Croatian and multitudes of other Roman Catholics will thank you and so would the great soul of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac who perished from torture and false witness against him, saying: “When they take everything from you, you will be left with two hands; put them together in prayer and then you will be the strongest.”

Ina Vukic, Prof. Psych. (ZGB); B.A., M.A.Ps, (SYD)

Open letter to Pope Francis in the Croatian language/Please click the picture below.

Otvoreno pismo papi Franji na hrvatskom jeziku/ Molim pritisnite na sliku dolje.

Comments

  1. Stevie10703 says:

    I will keep my mouth shut about this “Pope” because there is nothing nice to say about him. All we have to know in regards to him is that he believes in Liberation Theology, which is the mixing of Marxist ideology with Church doctrine and his virtual silence on the treatment of the Catholics in China is reprehensible so should we be shocked when it comes to what they are doing to Stepinac? Its as if he’s being tried all over again and are slowly killing him for a second time. The “Pope” is a Jesuit and they are the Marxist order of the catholic church which is ironic considering they are the richest order and they do not take a vow of poverty.

    • And then, Stevie, one does not need to wonder why particularly the young are moving away from the church. We pray they stay with God and His commandments and know how to deal with cleansing His house of those that dare to defy His laws. This situation around canonisation is simply awful if not heresy bu some definition even if I’m no professional in that field but matters just do not sit right with the Church’s practice in this process for centuries.

    • Stevie10703, BINGO! Such an awful sadness. (But I haven’t any idea if there are orders richer than the wealthy Jesuits, or not.)

    • It is wrong to think of the Pope, or various orders in the church as left wing or right wing. The catholic church is “no wing”. The teachings are clear. Certain orders may have more of a focus on one thing or another … social justice, working with the poor, the handicapped etc. Our current Pope has had to deal with issues that few other Popes in history have had to do … and that is the advancement of technology and material wealth which becomes a religion in itself, the rise of Islam and general atheism in the west on all sides of politics. There were many non-church goers and non-Catholics who predicted all kinds of “liberal” things from this Pope and he has, rightly (and not surprisingly) let them down. He hasn’t moved away from the central teachings of the church. It is our obligation as practicing catholics to accept what he is saying … afterall he doesn’t come up with things on the spur of the moment. He is informed by many priests and monks who sit around studying these issues in depth. Could he have been more or less forceful on issues … for sure (to my mind) but it is up to me to have faith in his decisions and in the Catholic church.

      Liberation theology has its philosophical roots in the teachings of Christ and isn’t a separate set of religious beliefs but a different way of evangelising the flock. Here Christ brings a sword rather than just the word of peace … the beliefs are catholic the method more “earthly”. What the liberation theologists took was Marx’s methodology on the movement of history (and an emphasis on material social relationships). That doesn’t make you a Marxists in itself. Marx himself took the engine for the progress of history, the “dialectic’, from Hegel who wasn’t a Marxist. If anything the liberation theologists created hard core catholics (though they had a tendency, at least philosophically, to over estimate the orthopraxy). The movement , as you probably know was largely limited to south america but we could have used it in post -WW2 communist yugoslavia (not to mention in all the other countries the communists had installed governments in).

      • Velebit1 I believe that our obligation is to God and if His Servant on earth ventures away or obstructs the truth or facts, if he has a tendency to give lies the time of day for consideration it is that act that in itself is damaging to all concerned who seek truth in God’s name.

      • Papal infallibility is central to our catholic church. (which makes sense as he doesnt make pronouncements or decisions lightly or without advice). To move away from that you move to protestantism or the orthodox religion.

        Papal supremacy: Catholics consider the pope to be Jesus Christ’s representative on earth and the successor of the Apostle Peter, who was appointed by Jesus as the first head of their Church. The great schism was partly over ‘papal supremacy’, which is the notion that the Roman Bishop has some sort of authority over all other bishops because of the double apostolic honour of Rome (which indeed was never accepted by the Eastern bishops).

        Papal infallibility is the dogma that the Roman Pope can proclaim on matters of doctrine without error – this concept developed during the Counter-Reformation, but was not formalised until 1870 – so papal infallibility was nothing to do with splits with the East, but papal supremacy was. The Catholic Church believes the pope to be infallible in matters of doctrine. Orthodox believers reject the infallibility of the pope and consider their own patriarchs, too, as human and thus subject to error. In this way, they are similar to Protestants, who also reject any notion of papal primacy.

        We are allowed to complain (through correct channels) but we have to have faith.

      • Faith in God is never in question velebit1 and it is He who bestows upon us the love for truth that is not negotiable.

  2. Well said. I understand the Pope has ecumenical

    considerations but I find it hard to believe that he needs to

    go (this far) outside the Chruch (to other religions) when it

    comes to matters of cannonisation. I also note that

    Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, despite what the Sebians say

    (regardless if they are religious or not), stood up to

    tyranny of all stripes. He stood against the communists,

    against the Nazis, against Serbian fascists and royalists,

    and against the Croatian fascist Ustasha. Did he stand up

    and shout against them from the parapets. No. But I would

    suggest to the Pope, with all respect, that during wartime

    a religious leader has to walk especially carefully, and that

    his predecessor Pope Pius XII had similar dangerous waters

    to navigate. Blessed Alojzije Stepinac put himself in harms

    way, both with the wartime Croatian government and with

    communist Yugoslavia. No further evidence is needed than

    his homilies and encyclicals of the time which revealed the

    faith of his religion and his belief in the inherent

    wrongness to act with tyranny towards God’s creation (a

    phrase which the current Pope has used).

  3. Ina,

    Many people think the war is over and that the Serbs will no longer be a problem. Now, I think people are starting to see that the war is still on, and that the Serbs have just merely changed their tactics to undermine Croatia and everything that is Croatian.

    The Serbian Orthodox Church should not have a say in the canonization of Blessed Stepinac, we don’t have a say when they canonize a war criminal like Milorad Vukojcic a chetnik from WWII. https://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milorad_Vukoji%C4%8Di%C4%87 They are far from being any moral authority that anyone needs to consult with.

    Imagine Pope John Paull II consulting with Nazis regarding the canonization for St. Maximilian Kolbe , who was executed by the Nazis.

    Unfortunately the greater Serb idealists are active on many fronts.

    Let’s not forget that when Europe said that there would be no changing of borders due to force, decided to award the Serbs an ethnically pure entity in Bosnia. That’s like awarding the Nazis a state before decisively defeating them and then having the Nazi statelet agitate to join an enlarged Germany. We also find ourselves with a criminal like Milorad Dodik claiming to help Croatians in Bosnia, while overlooking the Croats expelled from his own entity and who are subject to intimidation when they try to return.

    Not convinced look at this article regarding Croatian language wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Wikipedia it starts out great, and then somehow it gets turned into a den of fascism. So much so that the founder of Wikipedia thinks it is a bad idea to have a separate Croatian language Wikipedia: https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/osnivac-wikipedije-govori-za-nedjeljni-srbi-i-hrvati-ne-smiju-imati-odvojene-wikipedije-1069487

    So we are letting thugs and killers and greater Serb nationalists dictate who will be Croatia’s saints, steer Croatia’s foreign policy and write Croatian history? The worst part about all of this is that we are letting it happen! Shame!

  4. Vlad Mosmondor says:

    Ina this is a brilliant open letter to his holiness the pope.

  5. I never knew this.

  6. Natali Orlovic-Peros says:

    Thank you for your letter. We also should take into account that the current Pope has ties to the military dictatorship in Argentina. Therefore his is quite comfortable in such company as is the Serbian Patriarch Irinej. If Irinej was such a great man, as the pople keeps saying, he would use his power to release Stepinac’s diary from the Belgrade archives. Till this day Stepinac’s diary, (discovered in 1950- supposedly, too late to be used in his trial), were confiscated by the Yugoslav authorities; and it currently resides in Belgrade in the archives of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Therefore I fear that until both men, are no in their current positon, we will not come to closer. Marko P. is correct we have allowed them to keep our archives, to dispel our people and to write our histroy.

    • So much more is in Belgrade, archives never returned to Croatia after breakup of Yugoslavia it truly is angering. Regardless of what happens with my letter as it arrives in the Apostolic Palace the important thing is that it is known that we are not asleep and will not give up on truth and justice. Thank you on your feedback.

  7. awesome post.

  8. bobomostarac says:

    Thank you dear Mrs. Vukic for this very strong and informative letter to Papa Franjo.
    It is of utmost importance that he receives this letter via e-mail as well as via registered post. The best would be if delivered by hand.

    We do not know who receives his mail. It is important to confirm with him the receipt and if he needs further explanation that he may not be aware of.
    Perhaps there is someone of confidence at Domus Croatia in Rome, who would be able and willing to contact Pope to confirm the receipt of this valuable letter. The same needs to be well versed in the true life of our beloved Bl. Stepinac and need be, with strong convictions give additional facts, in all the good father Stepinac did for all the people in and outside of Croatia.

    We do not know why Papa took this shameful action against Bl. Stepinac and inadvertently against the Croatian people?

    Is it a blackmail or he is blindly following and fulfilling wishes of his long time friend Drago Carlos Pilsel?
    We understand that Pilsel and Pope are very close friends. Their close friendship goes far back to their early life in Argentina and continues to this date. It is also known that Pilsel, was main instigator in this shameful prosecution of our beloved Bl. Stepinac. Pilsel for some unknown reason, yearned to gain favorable attention of his idol, Patrijarh Irinej, and his Chetnik brothers.
    Pilsel is the one who introduced Irinej to Pope and urged Pope and Irinej to jointly work against Bl. Stepinac, thus Croatia.

    Although, Pilsel, is openly working with such hatred against Croatia and Croatian people, he is not persecuted and is allowed to live well in Croatia and from Croatia and Croatians. Does this not confirm that we are God’s people, who forgive and carry on with every day living without hatred and vengeance? I believe that we may look like naïve fools in everyone else’s eyes, but the mere fact that we are still living with full lungs, loving life, loving God, forgiving, building, rejoicing, celebrating life, while going through evil thorns that our enemies are planting for us and around us. Sometimes we may come out with some scratches but always with our souls intact. As long as our enemies are not able to destroy our souls, all along their main aim and ultimate goal, we will persevere and remain strong.

    One more detail:
    Pilsel’s own father died from broken heart. During his father’s short visit to Zagreb, Drago urged him to meet with Irinej and apologize for all, ‘supposedly he and all the Ustasha Croats did’ during the W. W. II. Drago is still diligently working and appealing to all Croatians in Argentina to embrace evil Serbochetniks propaganda against Croatians and apologize. When he saw what his son has become, even though he came to stay, he refused to stay in Croatia and broken hearted, returned to Argentina. Shortly after his return he died. By Drago’s own account, Drago was not able to attend the funeral because at the time, he was very busy working with Serbochetnik Irinej in this evil assassination of Bl. Stepinac’s character.
    However, In lieu of absence, Drago wrote a touchy letter to his dead father. What a loving son?

    Pope needs to understand that with this or similar action against, to this date, his people, the Croatians, he will not gain Serbians, but will inadvertently lose the Croatians. The loss will be his and his administration only. Croatians will never turn away from Catholic faith and from God and our Catholic faith. God is the only and sole partner in all Croatians do and we will not turn away from God but will most certainly turn away from this Pope and his administration.

    Pope should be reminded, that he is elected to promote Christianity and not to barter with Christian values for Serbo Orthodox favoritism. This is a great sin and he needs to come to terms with his misguided intention. He is destroying Christianity for something that is completely opposite to the values of Christianity. The Christianity is a religion and Serbo Orthodox is in essence a political party bent on destroying, occupying territory of other nations, spreading lies, propaganda, hatred, in the nutshell, it is all that Christianity is not.

    Pope needs to be made aware that he is by showing this great favoritism to Irinej at the grave cost to Croatia and Croatians in fact aiding and abetting further aggression, that SANU 2. is promoting and God forbid, forthcoming at Irinej’s urging and blessings.

    He needs to understand where all this is going to. The consequences of his actions will be grave and he should accept all the responsibility for the same. I pray Pope wakes up and immediately steers his actions in the right direction while there is still time, God help us.
    Bobo Mostarac

    • Thank you Bobo Mostarac, I am able to track the post I sent so God willing all will be fine with delivery, if not – we move to new ways, ensuring all information reaches the right place – that is the least our Blessed Alojzije Stepinac deserves. Kind regards

  9. This Pope is a disaster. Historically ignorant and ‘progressive’ i.e. hard-left-leaning in his views. Sadly, he has also stacked the College of Cardinals with men like him. So, Blessed Stepinac is a great man in the eyes of Saint (Pope) John Paul ll and Benedict, but not this man?! Absurd…. and shows the politics in the Church. It too has its own ‘deep state.’ If this Pope thinks it is wise to ‘listen to’ the bigoted rants of a Serb ‘church’ that despises non-Serbs and believes it is normal for clergy to arm themselves and take photos with Serb terrorists (as seen in the war of aggression against Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina), clergy that actually blessed these terrorists and promoted the aggression against these two independent republics…..then it truly speaks volumes of Francis’ lack of character and sheer historical ignorance. As Catholics, many of us know that regardless of what some mere mortal says on earth, Blessed Stepinac is a great man, a true hero, and is already a Saint in the eyes of God. On a side note, why are we surprised being that he threw faithful Chinese Catholics ‘under the bus’ by siding with the Communist regime?

  10. Oh wow! Shared to Pinterest

  11. Steve Zupan says:

    It’s weak and pathetic that the Pope is worried what the Serbian Orthodox Church will think. Who cares what they think, they aren’t Catholics. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “I smell the stench of appeasement in the air.”

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