KUHARIĆ, Franjo Cardinal (1919-2002)
Serb-Croatian cardinal; archbishop of Zagreb. Declared a Servant of God in 2012.
AQS – Autograph Quotation Signed and dated 1981. Accompanied by original mailing envelope.
From the New York Times, 2002:
Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, a former primate of this predominantly Roman Catholic country who preached tolerance during the wars in the Balkans, died on March 11. He was 83. The church-run news agency that reported Cardinal Kuharic’s death did not identify the cause.
The cardinal, who stepped down in 1997, had been archbishop of the Zagreb diocese and the primate of Croatia since 1970, serving while the country was still part of the Communist-run Yugoslav federation which suppressed religious and national feelings.
Most Croats turned openly toward the church after Croatia declared itself independent in 1991. During and after Croatia’s war that year against rebel Serbs and the subsequent war in neighboring Bosnia, Cardinal Kuharic urged forgiveness and spoke out against vengeance.
He also often criticized corruption that flourished during the nine-year rule of the late President Franjo Tudjman. Nonetheless there were critics who charged that the cardinal was too close to Mr. Tudjman’s party, which eventually was ousted by a pro-Western coalition two years ago.
Cardinal Kuharic was close to Pope John Paul II, who visited the country in 1994 — the first time a pope had done so in 800 years. The pope returned four years ago and is scheduled to visit again this fall.
John Paul sent a message of condolence on the cardinal’s death noting that ”both during the period of the Communist regime as well as the recent, painful period of national history, he committed himself with all his energy to the defense of the liberty and the dignity of the Croat people.