CHAPTER FOUR: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE CROATIAN NATION [continued]
A Symbolic Revolution: The Great NovenaAfter the freeze of the "Croatian Spring," the Catholic Church resumed the "Great Novena" which had been interrupted by World War II.
This section details many of the activities, publications, meetings, and public events led by the Croatian Catholic church over the following years. The response was enormous--there were usually tens of thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands, of participants at many of the public events and commemorations. The church sought to explicitly link the history of the church to that of the Croatian people. Pope John Paul II was receptive to many overtures as the Croatian Church sought to emphasize the shared Catholic heritage of Croats and Poles, extending this to a sense of being on the frontier of the Catholic world. This was extended to a sense of being defenders of Catholicism and the Western world from Orthodoxy and Islam coming from the East.
The history of Croatia was increasingly whitewashed, as atrocities from WW II were ignored, Orthodoxy was portrayed as a sinister force that divided the South Slavs, and sometimes controversial figures from Croatia's past were elevated and celebrated, often explicitly for their anti-Orthodox and anti-Serb words and deeds.