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Author Topic: Cardinal Stepinac & the Ustashi  (Read 2921 times) Average Rating: 0
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A Sombra
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« on: May 23, 2007, 03:17:46 AM »

  Cardinal Stepinac was one of the greatest supporters of the Ustashi government. This is a government whose announced goals included forced conversions of 1/3 of the Serbs in Croatia, expulsion of 1.3 of the Serbs from Croatia, and the murder of the remaining 1/3 of the Serbs in Croatia. The tortures committed against the Serbs by the Ustashi are horrific indeed-Ustashi soldiers who wore "necklaces" fashioned from the eyeballs; ears, and noses of Serbs; an Ustashi official who kept a large jar of Serb eyeballs on his desk; breasts ripped from the bodies of Serbian women; bayoneted Serbs thrown off cliffs, left to perish in a pile of the dying; the River Sava ran red with the blood of the murdered Serbs; decaying bodies were recovered miles downriver; at Jasenovac concentration camp,  a veritable catalog of atrocities were committed against the Serbs, under orders of its Franciscan commander; Serbs were forced to convert to Catholicism at gunpoint, or threat of inhuman torture. All these atrocities against the Serbs were committed because of the Ustashi hatred for the Orthodox! These were the activities of the Ustashi government that Cardinal Stepinac was aware of, and said not one word against. Nazi officers in Croatia even were repelled, and advised the Ustashi to "slow down." Apparently, Cardinal Stepinac's admiration of the Nazis, who-after all, had made an independent Croatia possible-stopped at this advice. After the War, the Vatican sponsored an "underground railroad" to help Ustashi war criminals escape from Europe, as well as from justice.
  Pope John Paul II's "apology" to the Orthodox for "past wrongs" and the possible canonization of Cardinal Stepinac are, to me, mutually exclusive. Why not canonize Ante Pavelik and Mile Budak along with Stepinac?
  Of course, there are Serbs alive today who remember their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, other relatives and friends and neighbors perishing from the tortures committed by the Ustashi. So, when a new Catholic Ustashi rose in Croatia, is it any wonder the Serbs fought against that government? Is it any wonder that sainthood for Stepinac is an insult to any Orthodox Christian?
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2007, 03:54:01 AM »

Personally I do not believe Stepinac will ever be canonised, but then of course the workings of the Vatican is an enigma.

Why would the late John Paul II beatify him?  I believe it is two-fold (some will say it is all conspiracy theories though  Tongue). 
Firstly, he was truly a Slavic Roman Catholic's Pope and endlessly tried to encourage the Church there and strengthen it.  In countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal though many consider themselves Roman Catholic (due to heritage), 1/3 or less are practicing.  In Poland, Croatia, etc, Roman Catholicism is much stronger and 'alive' if you will.  So, the Pope, to secure Roman Catholicism in these Slavic states (almost make them a beacon for Europe), emphasised 'home-grown' heroes and saints.  Stepinac is an example of that.
Secondly, he did it to improve relations with the Jews and remove all the talk about how the Roman Catholic Church was anti-semetic under Pius XII (who he wanted to canonise as well).  The Jews see Stepinac as a national and religious hero who saved many of them during the Second World War.  This beatification would be used to strengthen and warm ties with the Jewish community, obviously, at the expensive of the Orthodox community (especially the Serbs).

I was born and raised Roman Catholic for 20 years of my life (in the process of converting as we speak) and though many Roman Catholics will pussyfoot around it, I will admit that the Ustashi regime was one of the most vile in modern history.  My fiancee is Serbian and lost family.  My great uncle fought for Italy in the Balkans campaign, he saw evidence of these atrocities after the fact, and was even fortunate enough to be able to hide or ship out several Serbian families (usually into Italy or an area of great Italian influence in the Balkans) or supply them with basic food/arms. 

The late John Paul II's move to beatify Stepinac gave Serbs and others just another reason to question Roman Catholic Church and papal methods.  I truley cannot blame them either.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 04:09:02 AM by Friul » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 04:45:37 AM »

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I believe it is two-fold. 
Firstly, he was truly a Slavic Roman Catholic's Pope and endlessly tried to encourage the Church there and strengthen it.

It's also important to remeber why he venerated Catholics - for them he is venerated as one who oppsed and suffered under communism.  Both Croatian nationalism and Catholicism needed a banner under which to march. 

Quote
Apparently, Cardinal Stepinac's admiration of the Nazis, who-after all, had made an independent Croatia possible-stopped at this advice. After the War, the Vatican sponsored an "underground railroad" to help Ustashi war criminals escape from Europe, as well as from justice.

Stepinac was certainly a supporter of an independent Croatia, but his guilt in the war crimes of the Ustasa regime is more ambigious.  If anything he should be remembered as a weak and mediocre man who didn't have the stregnth to be any real moral authority during the WWII years - hardly material for a saint.  But given the dearth of Slavic saints in the RCC the standards are apparently lowered... and it was certainly in the Vatican's interests to keep Croat expat and nationalists happy.  And if we are going to condemn people for being Nazis, it was the Serbian royal family that sold out to the Nazis.  I guess the Nazis weren't that bad to them until they started killing Serbs too.  Still Stepinac is a prime example of the horrid beast produced when Christianity is used to justify nationalistic ambitions.   

« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 04:46:11 AM by Νεκτάριος » Logged
A Sombra
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 09:19:57 PM »

Nektarios wrote:

   "Stepinac was certainly a supporter of an independent Croatia . . ."

AN USTASHA independent Croatia . . .


  Ante Pavelic wrote a book (at least the book appeared under his name) about the Croatian Orthodox Church, created for the Serbs in Croatia at the suggestion of the Nazis, who feared the Ustashi were going too far. The former head of the independent state of Croatia, murderer of Serbs, wrote this book well after World War II, in the comfort of Spain, where the Vatican underground (the information I saw told about fugitive Ustasha who were dressed as monkls in Catholic monasteries in and around Rome to disguise their "origins.") helped to send him after the War. The book basically outlined how nice it was of the Ustashi government to set up a Church for the "Croatian Orthodox."
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 12:14:18 AM »

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Ante Pavelic

I think you have Stepinac and Pavelic confused - they are seperate people. 

While I hardly consider Stepinac to be a saintly person, there was a growing policy gap between him and Pavelic and he did put his own neck on the line to oppose Pavelic on many occasions.  It is bearing false witness (which is a sin in the Orthodox Church, right?) to keep refering to Stepinac as if he and Pavelic represented the same policy. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 12:14:46 AM by Νεκτάριος » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 12:34:15 AM »

  What policies did Stepinac oppose? The Vatican must not have "opposed" all that much if they got him to Spain in light of arrest warrants for war crimes . . . If Stepinac "stuck his neck out," what better reason than to stop forced conversions and save lives-but ae those the policies he opposed, or Huh
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 01:28:07 AM »

Removed content:

A. Because it has no bearing on the subject.
B. Comes from a fairly well known Catholic baiting site.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 08:20:19 AM by welkodox » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 02:31:16 AM »



While I hardly consider Stepinac to be a saintly person, there was a growing policy gap between him and Pavelic and he did put his own neck on the line to oppose Pavelic on many occasions.  It is bearing false witness (which is a sin in the Orthodox Church, right?) to keep refering to Stepinac as if he and Pavelic represented the same policy. 

 "The archbishop [Stepinac] evidently didn't realize that Croatia under the Ustashe was nothing but a puppet state divided between Nazi Germany and Fascist
Italy" but once he did,

 "From then on...Stepinac was gradually overwhelmed by reports of mass killings; as a result, he slowly began to see the truth and to find his voice" yet, "Stepinac had absolutely no way to discipline the clergy in Bosnia, where most of the atrocities were taking place."

 The above quotes are taken from the chapter, "Croatia: 'Just So They Could Go to Heaven'" in Robert Kaplan's book, "Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History".

 As a novice to the Balkan histories, I found Kaplan's book on the subject remarkable, engrossing and, it seems, that he tried to be fair. I will not speculate as an outsider to the situation as to the guilt or innocence of Stepinac. Being an American EO Christian with no prior knowledge of the subject, my gut tells me the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I do think Nektarios is on to something though.
 This seems, and rightly so, to be a major point of contention for our brother/sister Serbs. I would pray that, regardless of Croatia's and the Vatican's instistance of canonizing Stepinac, the Serbs, while always remembering their history, can someday learn to forgive as our Saviour commands all of us.

 
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