Aboard the papal plane, Jun 4, 2011 / 10:19 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Pope has hailed Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, the late Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb in Croatia, as “a great pastor and a great Christian.” The Pope made his comments during an in-flight interview with journalists as he traveled to Croatia for a two-day visit.
Cardinal Stepinac was the leader of the Catholic Church in Croatia during the Second World War when the country briefly regained independence under a Nazi puppet regime, the Ustase.
After the war, the Nazis were replaced with the communists. An outspoken critic of the regime, Cardinal Stepinac was imprisoned following a show-trial in 1946 and later died under house arrest in 1952.
Pope Benedict described both regimes – Nazi and communist – as “anti-humanist.”
The Ustase regime, he said, “seemed to fulfill the dream of autonomy and independence, but in reality it was an autonomy that was a lie because it was exploited by Hitler for his own purposes.”