The visit of a Pope of Rome to Serbia has been discussed for the last few years now. There is no small distrust and ill-will by many in the country against the pontiff as a representative of the Catholic Church both for theological and historical reasons. The recently discussed "in pectore" canonization of Aloysius Stepinac (who is seen to have been complicit in the forced conversion of Orthodox to Catholicism) further enflames and complicates the talks.
(Catholic Culture) - Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate on January 16.And also...
According to a Serbian television news report, the patriarchate’s delegation expressed opposition to the possible canonization of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (1898-1960), a Croatian prelate whom St. John Paul II beatified as a martyr in 1998.
The delegation also said that Patriarch Irinej would not object to a papal visit to Serbia in his capacity as head of state but that “other forms of his visit require the green light of the Moscow Patriarchate,” according to the report.
Serbia, a nation of 7.2 million people, is 85% Orthodox, 6% Catholic, and 3% Muslim.
ROME (inSerbia) – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic had a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican which discussed the migrant crisis, Serbia’s opposition to admitting the so-called ‘Republic of Kosovo’ to UNESCO and other important issues.
Nikolic and Pope Francis also touched on proposals to set up a joint commission of the Serbian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches to analyze the historical facts related to World War II and the role Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac played in the Independent State of Croatia.
During his visit, Nikolic presented Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of the Holy See, with a Republic of Serbia decoration for his outstanding contribution in building and strengthening friendly relations and cooperation between Serbia and the Holy See.
Nikolic also visited the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Serbian president’s press office said in a release.
“In the cordial discussions, the good existing relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Serbia were demonstrated, and the parties considered issues of mutual interest,” the Vatican said in a press release obtained by Tanjug from the president’s press office.
The Serbian president and the Pope also touched on Serbia’s progress towards full integration in the European Union, as well as various regional and international events, including the problems facing the Syrian and Iraqi refugees and displaced persons and the importance of reaching a joint solution to the current crisis.