Serb Orthodox Church Not Involved in Decision-Making on Stepinac

By 10 May 2019

ZAGREB, May 10, 2019 - The Serb Orthodox Metropolitan of Ljubljana and Zagreb, Porfirije Perić, said on Thursday that the Serb Orthodox Church (SPC) was not involved in any way in the decision-making on the canonisation of the World War II Archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac, and that the SPC was the wrong address for the anger of those who were dissatisfied with Pope Francis's recent statement about that process.

Pope Francis recently said that in the process of Stepinac's canonisation there were some unclear historical points that needed to be clarified and that he had also sought assistance from the head of the SPC, Patriarch Irinej, in that regard.

"Everyone knows that if and when Stepinac will be declared saint is exclusively a matter for the Catholic Church to decide. We are in no way involved in the decision-making on that matter nor can we be," Perić told Hina.

With all due respect for all those who are dissatisfied with the current situation regarding the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac and the pope's statement on that topic, they should not be angry at the Serb Orthodox Church, he said. "We are the wrong address. By all accounts, the anger is directed at the Vatican, which is not an easy thing to say. It is simpler to... point the finger at someone else," said Perić.

We responded, he said, to the pope's kind request. "We talked with our brothers the bishops in the spirit of brotherhood, mutual respect and sincerity. We told them what we think," the Serb Orthodox dignitary said.

Croatian Bishops' Conference (HBK) president Želimir Puljić said earlier in the day that in Pope Francis's recent statement regarding the canonisation of Cardinal Stepinac "there is nothing contentious about the search for the truth" or anything "that would bring into question his sainthood and canonisation," but conceded that the statement "has agitated the public and challenged believers."

Archbishop Puljić said the pope's decision to consult the SPC regarding Stepinac was a precedent and that the SPC wanted to use this precedent to block the canonisation.

More news about the canonisation of Stepinac can be found in the Politics section.