The Appalling History of Croatia in the 20 Century

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By Richard Bennett and Michael De Semlyen

 

In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty, along with Pope Pius XI, officially conceding Vatican Hill to the Pope.  The Papacy once again became a sovereign, civil state.  The legal agreement between Mussolini and the Vatican was just the beginning.  Following this, the Papacy formed alliances in the twentieth century with Roman Catholic dictators such as Adolph Hitler of Germany, Francisco Franco of Spain, Antonio Salazar of Portugal, and Juan Peron of Argentina.  But the alliance that proved to be the most brutal and bloodthirsty of all was that between the Papacy and Anton Pavelic in Croatia.  Within the Papacy it was agreed that Anton Pavelic[1] was to be head of the new nation-state of Croatia, which was carved out of Yugoslavia during the Second World War.

 

During Pavelić’s four-year reign, he and Roman Catholic Prelate, Archbishop Alois Stepinac, pursued a “convert or die” policy among the 900,000 Greek Othodox Serbs, Jews, and others in Croatia.  Two hundred thousand were converted; the 700,000 who chose to die were tortured, burned, buried alive, or shot … after digging their own graves.  This appalling persecution carried out by the Ustaše included many of the worst atrocities of history.  The mutilations were horrific, the tortures vicious, and the savagery terrible.  The Catholic Church did not leave the execution of a religious war to the secular arm.  She was there herself, openly ignoring precautions and bolder than she had been for a very long time.  Wielding the hatchet or dagger, pulling the trigger, organizing the massacre, the

Anton Pavelić with Archbishop Stepina    Roman Catholic priests tortured and killed.

 

Anton Pavelić with Franciscan Monks

Many of the Ustaše officers were priests or friars sworn to fight “with dagger or gun,” for the “triumph of Christ and Croatia.”  Priests played a prominent role in the closing or takeover of Serbian Orthodox churches, the seizure of church records, and the interrogation of the Serbian

Orthodox clergy.  They also supervised concentration camps and organized the torture of many of their victims.

French author Edmond Paris, who was born a Roman Catholic, and has written a very thorough account of this terrible massacre in his book Convert or Die, has said,

“It is difficult for the world to believe that a whole people could be doomed to extermination by a government and religious hierarchy of the twentieth century, just because it happened to belong to another ethnical and racial group and had inherited the Christianity of Byzantium rather than that of Rome.”

The creation of the entirely Roman Catholic, independent State of Croatia during the Second World War was accompanied by a persecution so ferocious that it is difficult to find a parallel in all of history.  The Inquisition applied to the Serbian Orthodox by the Croatian Catholics accounted for 700,000 Serbs being tortured and killed in just four years.  So, while the Inquisition ended in the nineteenth century, the same procedures and mindset were evident in Croatia in the twentieth century.  In fact, the same mindset is still officially maintained by the Papacy in the twentyfirst century.  The Roman Church to this day maintains the laws that she used as her authority to torture and murder Bible believers for over 600 years.  In her present-day laws she states her right to coerce Christian people.  Thus, Canon 1311 states,

“The [Catholic] Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of papal sanctions.”

While there are no sanctions in torture and death at the present time, the same astonishing mindset is Roman Catholic law.  The fact is that the Papacy still claims the right to judge and impose chastening that has not changed since the days of the Inquisition.  In present-day Canon Law she also decrees,

Canon 1405 (Sect.1)  “It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge in cases mentioned in can.  1401:1.  Those who hold the highest civil office in a state…

Canon 1401 “By proper and exclusive right the Church adjudicates: 1. cases concerning spiritual matters or connected with the spiritual; 2.  the violation of ecclesiastical laws and all those cases in which there is a question of sin in respect to the determination of culpability and the imposition of ecclesiastical penalties.”

The Holy Spirit’s admonition to believers is to be remembered as these decrees are certified into law, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”[2]            

In past times, kings, princes, and nations were supposed to tremble at her decrees.  Woe to him who resisted!  Subjects were released from their oaths of allegiance; whole states were placed under interdict.  By deception regarding the Gospel and, subsequently by force, the Papacy has held her domain together.  She has only external unity, as any one who has lived within her system and studied her decrees and history knows.

Our Prayer for Croatia

We have documented on how the institutionalized Papacy and the powers of darkness have conspired against Serbs, Jews, and others in Croatia.  It is horrendous!  Our prayer now is that the Lord Jesus Christ would show the power of His kingdom in Croatia.  Psalms 2 reminds us that the Lord Jesus the Messiah reigns; His throne is not moved, whatever may be the turmoil and schemes against Him.  While the enemies of the Gospel are plotting and planning how to break His bands asunder and cast His cords from them, He has already defeated their devices, and He says to them, “yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.[3]  All events are in His hands.  None can stand against the almighty Lord Jesus Christ!

The voice of the Lord thunders from the final chapters of the Bible and reverberates throughout the world, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”[4]  While the Papacy from the city of Rome continues to wax strong, her final condemnation is already written, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”[5]  God’s reserved wrath, His punishing justice, and His enmity to sin, will be revealed to the entire world.  The destruction of Papal Rome will proceed from the glory of His power.  “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.[6]  The certainty of the final triumph should animate us in our efforts, and embolden true believers in their struggles.

The frequently quoted maxim that “peoples ignorant of history are destined to repeat it” is still true.  True believers are in real danger of compromising with the Church of Rome.  Without the knowledge of the horrifying history of Croatia in the 20th Century, we can fail to see that the true Gospel is a matter of life and death.  As the Apostle Paul told believers, “All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.[7]  The victory of the faith and courage of believers over the severest trials is repeatedly recorded in the pages of history.  As the Lord proclaimed, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.[8]  “Also I say unto you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.”[9]  We appeal especially to Croatian people—where there is true faith and love of the Lord, there is in the midst of all afflictions a joy unspeakable and full of glory.  God is the only Holy Father, the All Holy One.  His holiness is the distinguishing factor in all His essential characteristics and attributes.  This is the reason why we need to be in right standing before the one and only All-Holy God on the terms He prescribes.  The good news is that by His grace you can turn to Hi
m in faith alone for the salvation that He alone gives, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which is based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His people.  Believe on Him alone; as the Scripture states, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[10]  ♦

If the Lord has by His grace touched your heart in reading this account of Croatian history, please let us hear from you using the email address: richardmbennett@yahoo.com

Thank you,

Richard Bennett and Michael De Semlyen

[1] Ante Pavelić, born July 14, 1889 – died December 28, 1959

[2] Galatians 5:1

[3] Psalm 2:6

[4] Revelation 18:4

[5] Revelation 14:8

[6] Revelation 14:10

[7] 2 Timothy 3:12

[8] Matthew 10:28

[9] Luke 12:4

[10] Ephesians 2:8-9