The Stepinac Commission Holds First Meeting in Vatican

By 14 July 2016

The next meeting will take place in October in Zagreb.

The joint commission of Croatian and Serbian experts tasked to investigate the activities of Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac before, during and after World War II met in the Vatican on 12 and 13 July. Members of the joint commission held three meetings, on Tuesday morning and afternoon, and on Wednesday morning, reports Večernji List on July 14, 2016.

Cardinal Josip Bozanić, the Archbishop of Zagreb, said he was very pleased with the talks so far. According to sources, there was no discussion about the documents during these first meetings. The participants only discussed how the commission would proceed with its activities. It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in Zagreb on 17 and 18 October.

Based on the press release published after the meeting, we can conclude several things: that the Holy See, as expected, completely took over the “patronage” over the work of the commission, that the eventual canonization of Stepinac is not in doubt and that the results of the commission's work will not affect the canonization of Stepinac. Also, it has been decided that the commission would work for 12 months, which means that Stepinac will probably be declared a saint in about two years. The commission will analyze the documents and put everything in the context of years and events through which Stepinac lived and worked.

The commission is chaired by Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. Members of the Commission from the Catholic Church are: the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić; the Bishop of Požega Antun Škvorčević; the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno Ratko Perić; professor Jure Krišto; and professor Mario Jareb. Members of the commission from the Serbian Orthodox Church are: Metropolitan of Montenegro-Primorje Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana Porfirije, the Bishop of Pakrac Jovan, the Bishop of Bačka Irinej and former Serbian Ambassador to the Holy See Darko Tanasković.

Alojzije Stepinac was the Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960. The Serbian Orthodox Church claims that during the Second World War he cooperated with the Ustasha regime.