Talk:Aloysius Stepinac

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Please lock[edit]

Please lock this page, to protect it from excessive vandalism Vecanoi (talk) 16:09, 22 December 2013 (UTC)


This article is really biased. It doesn't adequately address Stepinac's support of the Ustase fascists in Yugoslavia and its leader Ante Pavelic. Particularly the introductory section which is dangerously biased and nefarious in not including both sides in his role in the Yugoslavian genocide and the Ustase. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikiepdiax818 (talkcontribs) 05:29, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

I've removed your POV tag, since at this point it is simply the viewpoint of one editor that the article is biased. If the consensus in discussion here is that the article has POV problems, then the tag can be added back. Please do not do so until a consensus has been reached.

In discussing this issue with other editors, whose views may differ from yours, please avoid using language such as "dangerously biased" and "nefarious", which will have the affect of getting the discussion off to a rocky start by poisoning the well. Thanks. BMK (talk) 07:26, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Also note, please, that according to this ArbCom decision, all articles related to the Balkans, broadly defined, are subject to discretionary sanctions. BMK (talk) 07:33, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

After reading Wikiepdiax818's comment, I am quite relieved that discretionary sanctions exist. I doubt he would makes such accusations say this were a Serbia related article. Please leave YOUR bias out of this. History should not be tampered with. It does no one any good. (talk) 17:53, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Two facts?[edit]

So, according to these two sources[1][2]:

  • When in June 1941 the regime proclaimed that "the Jews are spreading false news [...] and obstruct the supply of the population in their well-known speculative ways", for which they will be "considered collectively responsible" and interred into concentration camps, Stepinac gave the instructions to the priests to relay this message to the church-going public.
  • In 1944 Stepinac was awarded the Red za zasluge – Velered sa zviezdom by Pavelić for - among other things - "unmasking the outlaws from the area of the ISC".

The sources could be better, and that's the interesting bit: I couldn't find these two issues discussed anywhere. Stepinac having received the Order of Merit, which appears to be one of the highest decorations of the ISC, is not a minor thing, but is conspicuously absent from pretty much everything that was published about him in Croatia. This does not exactly paint him as an anti-fascist and a dissident, as many of the sources would have it. GregorB (talk) 22:40, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Well the character of Stepinac is burdened so much with symbolism that both his fans and haters read into him that painting a realistic picture of the man is pretty much impossible. In any case, the decoration was mentioned by Drago Pilsel, a journalist and a colorful character himself, in a column published on his website in February 2014. He says the decision was published in Narodne novine, and even quotes the reasoning as published in NN - namely, that Stepinac had deserved the decoration "because, in his capacity as the archbishop, he exposed - both in the country and abroad - outlaws from the territory of the Independent State of Croatia." (Što je kao nadbiskup razkrinkavao u zemlji i izvan zemlje odmetnike s područja Nezavisne Države Hrvatske). Which sounds like a deliberately vague bureaucratic phrasing which means very little taken out of context. We don't know if Stepinac actually accepted the decoration, we don't know who the "outlaws" are, or what "exposing" involved, we don't know what does "exposing abroad of outlaws in the country" even means, etc. The only thing that seems to be sure is that the NDH regime wanted to present Stepinac (and by extension, the Catholic church) as closely tied to them, and as totally supportive of regime's goals, at a time when the tide of war was obviously turning against Pavelić and Co. and they really needed some good PR. Who knows. Timbouctou (talk) 00:52, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Communist post-war sources state that Pavelic awarded all the Catholic bishops, the Islamic leaders in Zagreb and Sarajevo, the Evangelical bishop in Zagreb, and the "Croatian Orthodox" bishop the Award for Merit on the anniversary of the NDH in 1944. Their reliability is obviously suspect. But even they don't indicate that the awards were accepted. Someone like Pilsel would've gotten information like this from the communist reports. Verifying it is relatively simple: 1) get the Narodne Novine issue in question from the national archive to verify the award, 2) research a few NDH newspapers to see if it was actually awarded or simply published as such. The fact that this clearly hasn't been done - or we would have heard about it - suggests that it didn't happen.
As far as the extraordinary law published on June 26, 1941 goes, your sources have largely taken it out of its full context. See Tomasevich's War and Revolution in Yugoslavia. The extraordinary law was motivated by complaints from the chief German officials Glaise-Horstenau and Kasche on Ustashe crimes, as well as the protest letter sent to Pavelic by Stepinac himself concerning the Glina massacre. The chief effect of the law was that it widened the authority of court martials and gave harsher sentences for crimes in an attempt to reduce lawlessness. According to Tomasevich the law was used to arrest and even execute some Ustashe. As far as I can tell only one paragraph mentions Jews, that is the one in question wherein the regime essentially blames the Jews for rumours of war crimes: Židovi šire lažne vijesti u svrhu uznemiravanja pučanstva te svojim poznatim spekulativnim načinima ometaju i oteščavaju opskrbu pučanstva, to se kolektivno smatraju za to odgovornima, i prema tome će se proti njima postupiti i spremati ih povrh kazneno-popravne odgovornosti u zatočenička zbirališta pod vedrim nebom. This was one of those "One hand giveth, the other taketh away" situations. Whether Katolicki List was mandated to publish this I don't know. But if Stepinac did in fact instruct his parishes to pass on this information, it was certainly in an attempt to dissuade further crimes and not because of this paragraph.--Thewanderer (talk) 03:39, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
It is a complex issue, but after all it is a matter of balance and equal treatment: if we learn that Stepinac was awarded the Order of the Star of Karađorđe - without speculation as to whether he actually accepted the decoration or not - then I see no reason to introduce such speculation specifically for the order of Merit.
Since the source is quite particular about the decoration itself ("Na prijedlog ministra pravosuđa i bogoštovlja NDH dr Pavla Cankija svojom odredbom oč. broj 111-Zsl-1944., pod tek. br. 552-Zsl. Stepinac Alojziju, nadbiskupu zagrebačkom dodjeljen je 1944. godine od Poglavnika "Red za zasluge – Velered sa zviezdom", uz slijedeće obrazloženje u službenom NDH glasilu Narodnim novinama"), i see no reason to doubt it.
I understand that the regime certainly wanted to co-opt Stepinac. That's not his fault. He could not have reasonably declined it either. The point is: anti-fascists do not get decorated by fascist regimes, ever (at least I'm unaware of any such instances).
According to the source, the proclamation about the Jews was not mandated ("dok se vjerske vlasti samo "umoljavaju" da ovu odredbu daju proglasiti po duhovnim pastirima"). But, that put aside, I fail to see how spreading anti-Semitic propaganda was supposed to "dissuade further crimes".
Note that I'm not advocating OR here, I'm merely illustrating why these two bits of information could be legitimately seen as relevant for the article. GregorB (talk) 09:02, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Seems to me that the secondary (assuming Pilsel is reliable) source for the award is Pilsel, not NN, which is primary. If so, and the conclusion is that Pilsel is reliable (this may be the real question), then if it was attributed in-line to Pilsel it might be ok. I haven't looked for anything about this yet, so just my initial thoughts. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (crack... thump) 09:24, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Also, it seems incongruous to me that Tko je tko u NDH would not mention such a high award from Pavelic. My translation of it doesn't seem to mention it. Peacemaker67 (crack... thump) 09:35, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, yes, the absence of solid sources (Pilsel is barely passable at best IMO) for what seems to be a major fact about Stepinac is odd, and that is the reason why I'm raising the issue here. (I'm not really interested in editing the article, but even if I were, I'd still be reluctant to do it because the supporting sources are weak.)
I ran into this by accident, while researching Magnum Crimen. I suppose MC covers both of these events, but is it a RS? Which brings up the same question again: why are other sources silent on the issue? (I have the impression that, in Croatia, writing anything critical about Stepinac's role in WWII is bound to land one in hot water, especially if this criticism echoes that from the communist era. Still, there is no way to compensate for what the sources do not say, so this point is moot really.) GregorB (talk) 10:13, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm not too interested in this either, but it seems that the decision published in NN should be easily verifiable, and as such belongs in the article. The problem here is that we would need more context around it, stemming from contemporary reports and/or later authors, for it to actually mean something. As for Tko je tko u NDH - the lexicon in its entirety has a right-wing slant and the entry on Stepinac is careful to talk about him in positive terms exclusively. Mentioning an award from Pavelić certainly would not fit in the narrative. Interestingly, the lexicon tries to prove his conflict with the Ustashe regime by quoting statements from October 1943 - and then immediately jumps to his March 1945 epistle (only two months before communist partisans entered Zagreb) in which he basically says nobody (including the clergy) should be blamed for supporting NDH during the war. One does not need to be a genius to see what he anticipated might happen in the aftermath of the war. I'm not an expert on this but I'd say it is pretty obvious that Stepinac flip-flopped throughout the war and was very careful to make his statements as vague as possible, so the only way to describe his relationship with the Ustashe would be to document it chronologically with lots of context mixed in. Pilsel is usually semi-reliable, but I guess we could give him the benefit of the doubt in this case. Timbouctou (talk) 12:05, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
@GregorB: The article dissuaded further crimes insofar as it was intended for Ustashe (both "wild" and official) who were committing said crimes. And it was used as such against them per Tomasevich. That is what the vast majority of the law pertained to. That single paragraph is certainly racist and inflammatory, but the law has to be looked at in its full context. Every academic work on lawlessness and the uprisings in 1941 refers to said law in terms of NDH attempts to restore order. Again, as far as whether Katolicki List had to publish it, our sources do not appear to be reliable enough or exhaustive enough to confirm this. And they certainly aren't reliable enough to provide any nuanced reasoning for this publishing.
The narratives here are complicated. As touched upon, the regime increasingly co-opted whatever institutions it could to try to tie them closer to the Ustashe in the later stages of the war (most notably disbanding the Home Guard, who had not been considered collaborators by default by the communists). A major stream in the Ustashe disliked Stepinac to begin with due to his history as a volunteer on the Salonika front and his cordial relationship with the Karadjordjevic's.
There's a copy of Ivan Gabelica's Blaženi Alojzije Stepinac i hrvatska država near me. If I recall correctly he was a bit of an Ustashe apologist, but it's one of the more thorough books available. If anyone would have the info on that award it would be there.--Thewanderer (talk) 15:46, 5 January 2015 (UTC)


Cardinal Aloisius Stepinac is „blessed“, and so is right to write his title.--Stebunik (talk) 19:21, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Long introduction can be on end, not in beginning of an article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stebunik (talkcontribs) 09:29, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

His feast-day is on his death-day, 10 February. Place of beatification was shrine Marija Bistrica.--Stebunik (talk) 22:40, 13 February 2015 (UTC)