Aloysius Viktor Stepinac was a Croatian Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960. In 1998 he was declared a martyr and beatified by Pope John Paul II.
Stepinac was ordained on October 26, 1930 by archbishop Giuseppe Palica, and in 1931 he became a parish curate in Zagreb. He established the archdiocesan branch of Caritas in 1931, and was appointed coadjutor to the see of Zagreb in 1934. When Archbishop Anton Bauer died on December 7, 1937, Stepinac succeeded him as the Archbishop of Zagreb. During World War II, on 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany, who established the Ustaše-led Independent State of Croatia. As archbishop of the puppet state's capital, Stepinac had close associations with the Ustaše leaders during the Nazi occupation, had issued proclamations celebrating the NDH, and welcomed the Ustaše leaders. Stepinac also objected against the persecution of Jews and Nazi laws, helped Jews and others to escape and criticized Ustaše atrocities in front of Zagreb Cathedral in 1943.
After the war he publicly condemned the new Yugoslav government and its actions during World War II, especially for murders of priests by Communist militants. Yugoslav authorities indicted the archbishop on multiple counts of war crimes and collaboration with the enemy during wartime. The trial was depicted in the West as a typical communist "show trial", biased against the archbishop; however, some claim the trial was "carried out with proper legal procedure". In a verdict that polarized public opinion both in Yugoslavia and beyond, the Yugoslav authorities found him guilty of collaboration with the fascist Ustaše movement and complicity in allowing the forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs to Catholicism.
After foreign and domestic pressure, Stepinac was released from Lepoglava prison. In 1952 he was appointed cardinal by Pope Pius XII. Stepinac died while still under confinement in his parish, almost certainly as the result of poisoning by his Communist captors. In October 3, 1998, Pope John Paul II declared him a martyr and beatified him before 500,000 Croatians in Marija Bistrica near Zagreb. This again polarized public opinion.
When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
- "excerpts taken from Victories of the Martyrs," by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Taken from the Acts of St. Anastasia, who is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass, and commemorated by the Church [old calendar] on December 25, St. Anastasia was a spiritual child of St. ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
Born in 1245 in Sant'Angelo, St. Nicholas of Tolentino took his name from St. Nicholas of Myra, at whose shrine his parents prayed to have a child. Nicholas became a monk at 18, and seven years ... continue reading
By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.
This model of Christian manliness recommends himself to us not for any strange or exciting things he did (because he really didn't) but for the daily listening to and heeding the voice of Almighty God - in the home, in the synagogue and Temple, in the ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes