|A capital work, Monsignor Juraj Batelja's trilogy Blaženi Alojzije Stepinac - svjedok evanđelja i ljubavi (The Blessed Aloysius Stepinac – Witness of the Gospel and Love) was presented February 8th at the Vijenac Hall of the archdiocesan pastoral centre. The author of the trilogy is the postulator of the cause to proclaim the beatified Croatian priest a saint. The trilogy was published on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Cardinal's death, marked on February 10th.|
Monsignor Batelja pointed out that some of the documentation was being presented to the public for the first time and that it would alter opinions and judgements of Aloysius Stepinac and allow for a more complete reading of, as he noted, the brightest figure among Croatians. These documents reveal that Stepinac never agreed with the Ustasha regime, and that the Communist authorities excluded documents that show that he protected refugees and those who had come to harm, which would have led to his acquittal at the show-trial put on in October of 1946. He also pointed to the disappearance of original parts of the text of Stepinac's diary.
The first volume contains Stepinac's biography, the second covers documents on Stepinac's life and work from 1934, when he was appointed Zagreb Archbishop and Coadjutor, while the third book covers documents from 1944 to 1998. That was the year in which Pope John Paul II declared Stepinac beatified in early October during his second visit to Croatia.
At the presentation Batelja said that the trilogy was prepared for the process of proclaiming the Cardinal blessed. Joining the author to speak about the books were its reviewers, theologian Don Josip Čorić and historian Josip Jurčević. Zagreb Archbishop Josip Bozanić was also on hand and extended his greetings to the gathered.
Bozanić thanked the author, saying that the trilogy brought to one place documents that bore true witness to the life and work of Cardinal Stepinac. He added that we needed the truth to shed light into the gloom of the present day. Bozanić called on the faithful to extend their prayers to contribute to having the Blessed Stepinac proclaimed a saint soon.
Don Josip Čorić said that in the period from 1938 to 1945 Stepinac championed the cause of Jews, Serbs and other persecuted people. He emphasised the importance of documents the author collected over several decades to finally set right the lies and falsification this blessed Croatian priest had suffered. The HINA news agency reports that Jurčević also noted how important this documentation was saying that, "this trilogy is a real basis for any research into Stepinac and a major contribution to our history and for the Church, both in Croatia and in the world."