CWN - A joint Catholic-Orthodox commission met this week to begin its exploration of the life of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, whose cause for canonization is a controversial topic in Croatia and Serbia.
The joint commission was established to study questions about the conduct of Cardinal Stepinac during and immediately after World War II, and his ties with Croatian nationalist groups that had fascist connections. An avowed enemy of Communism, the cardinal was convicted of treason in a show trial and sentenced to a 16-year prison term. Released to house arrest after five years, he died in 1960. He was canonized as a martyr by Pope John Paul II in 1998.
The commission studying Cardinal Stepinac's historical role is chaired by Father Bernard Ardura, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, and composed mostly of Catholic and Orthodox bishops. The group is expected to conclude its work within a year.
In announcing the first meeting of the joint commission, the Vatican press office noted that it "will not interfere with the process of canonization of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepanic, which is strictly within the competence of the Holy See."