"Croatia risks losing support of civilized, anti-Nazi world"

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic says the decision of a Croatian court to annul the verdict against Alojzije Stepinac represents "pressure" on Pope Francis.

Source: Vecernje novosti
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(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Nikolic said this in the context of the controversial plan of the Roman Catholic Church to declare the WW2-era Croatian cleric a saint.

In a statement for the Belgrade-based newspaper Vecernje Novosti on Friday, Nikolic added that he was "personally preparing evidence about the Croatian cardinal" that would be given first to the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) delegation, and then to a Vatican commission.

Referencing the WW2-era Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and its Ustasha regime, the president said:

"Croatia has been covering up the pits where Ustasha's buried Serbs - but if it continues like this it will dig up an abyss into which it will fall and remain alone, without the support of the civilized, anti-fascist, and anti-Nazi part of humanity."

Nikolic also stated that he received assurances from Pope Francis there would be "no rush" while deciding whether to make Stepinac a saint - "as he would be the first Christian saint that the SPC and other Orthodox churches would not recognize."

In the wake of Friday's decision by the Zagreb District Court, Nikolic noted that Stepinac was never in fact convicted in Croatia - "not in the NDH, not in today's legal follower of that Ustasha state."

"He was convicted in Yugoslavia, whose legal successor is Serbia, and all the newly-formed states, former members of Yugoslavia, and of Serbia and Montenegro, agree with that," the president said.

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