CWN - A joint Orthodox-Catholic commission studying the life of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898-1960) held its sixth and final meeting at Domus Sanctae Marthae on July 12 and 13.

The joint commission was established in 2016 to study questions about the conduct of Cardinal Stepinac during and immediately after World War II, as well as 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. He was beatified as a martyr by Pope St. John Paul II in 1998.

Father Bernard Ardura, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, presided over the commission, which was composed mostly of Catholic and Orthodox bishops.

In a joint statement issued July 13, the members of the commission expressed gratitude for “the magnanimity of Pope Francis,” the “cordial climate,” and the full “liberty of speech” that characterized their discussions.

Recognizing that any decision to canonize Blessed Stepinac rests exclusively with the Pope, the commission members acknowledged continued disagreements:

Various events, interventions, writings, silences and positions are still subject to various interpretations. In the case of Cardinal Stepinac, the predominant interpretations given respectively by Croatian Catholics and Serbian Orthodox still remain divergent.

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one's brethren through slander.

Abba Hyperechius