Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic told Sarajevo Vice Mayor Milan Trivic that he was in disbelief by the portrayal of the Bleiburg Mass in Sarajevo and that the Catholic Church never stood on the side of any criminal, totalitarian regime such as Fascist, Nazi or Communist regimes, but that the announced Sarajevo Mass will only honour the innocent Croat victims killed in Bleiburg, Catholic Press Agency reported Monday evening.
Trivic, who met the Cardinal over the Mass for Bleiburd killings announced for May 16, in Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, expressed the citizens' protest over it and said city authorities are ready to help lower the tensions and avoid any possible unwanted situations.
"First of all, Cardinal Puljic expressed disbelief and disappointment at the fact that the usual celebration of Holy Mass for the innocent victims of Bleiburg was presented in public as his personal acceptance of any form of totalitarianism and siding with the crimes of totalitarian regimes such as Nazism, Fascism or Communism. He explained that the Catholic Church has never sided with any government, let alone those that have been the cause of so much sorrow, and stressed that no crime can be defended or justified, but also that this was the original and only intention of the celebration of the Holy Mass, which Cardinal Puljic, on behalf of the Bishops' Conferences of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian Bishops' Conference announced in Sarajevo and not Bleiburg due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Trivic said, Catholic Press Agency reported.
They added that Cardinal Puljic regularly participates at the annual commemoration of the suffering of members of the Jewish community in Sarajevo and that as a member of Bosnia's Interreligious Council, he participates in the organization and prayers at the places of suffering from the last war in Bosnia.
“Cardinal Puljic assured me that he was very offended by any connotation to fascism or the Ustasha regime. He mentioned, countless times, his commitment to a free and democratic society, and the Mass, he pointed out, would be intended exclusively for the victims from among the people, not the criminals. He repeated this several times," Trivic told the Oslobodjenje daily.
"I told the Cardinal that many were very upset and offended that Bleiburg was being brought to Sarajevo, that the descendants of the victims raised their concerns, saying they couldn't understand that they would live to see a Mass devoted to fascists - in their city, which had suffered so many crimes from the Ustasha regime. The cardinal was explicit, the Mass has nothing to do with criminals," said Trivic, who could not express his personal impression after the meeting and whether anything about the organization of the Mass would change.