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Original scientific paper

Court Proceedings against the Catholic Press in Communist Croatia during the 1960s and 1970s

Anto Mikić orcid id ; Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb, Croatia

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page 183-210

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This paper examines and presents court proceedings against the Catholic newspapers Mali koncil (Little Council), Glas koncila (Voice of the Council), and Glasnik sv. Antuna Padovanskog (St Anthony of Padua’s Herald), later the Veritas, and their editors and authors Franjo Kuharić, Živko Kustić, and Ivon Ćuk during the 1960s and 1970s. Based on original archival material and relevant literature, seven court proceedings against Ivon Ćuk and Živko Kustić have been reconstructed. These include misdemeanour proceedings, the confiscation of or bans on the distribution of individual articles or issues of the mentioned papers, and two criminal proceedings, through which the communist authorities tried to limit the writing of the Catholic press and, indirectly, the activity of the Catholic Church in contemporaneous society. Using various research methods – analysis of contemporaneous legislation and court records, the contents of official correspondence between the then state and Church representatives, and individual articles published in the Catholic press – the author sheds further light on not only the legal aspects of these proceedings, but also their political background and motivation, placing them within the context of the contemporaneous relations between Church and state. The activities of the then Commission for Religious Matters of the Executive Committee of the Parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia regarding monitoring the contents of the Catholic press, resolving certain legal and political dilemmas related to initiating court proceedings, and its cooperation with the contemporaneous so-called “prosecution organs”, especially the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Zagreb, are studied separately. Presenting certain reactions of Church representatives, especially through the diary entries of then Zagreb (arch)bishop Franjo Kuharić, the author has shown the way in which the mentioned court proceedings were experienced and “read” by the contemporaneous Church leadership in Croatia. It can be concluded that the then Catholic press – despite being faced with court proceedings – primarily fought for the freedom of the Catholic Church in contemporaneous society. However, in doing so the Catholic media and authors also indirectly broadened the freedom of the press and public speech in the Socialist Republic of Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, especially after 1971, when the Catholic Church remained the sole organised “opposition” force to the country’s regime.


Catholic press under communist rule; Glas Koncila; Mali koncil; Veritas; Ivon Ćuk; Živko Kustić; Franjo Kuharić

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