“Now is a crucial moment for life. Our compassion, understanding and generous support are all essential,” Kelly said.
Cipriani and Tulli still have a further right of appeal at the Vatican and may then challenge the verdict in the international courts.
Croatia is a country of four million people bordering Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. More than 86% of the population is Catholic.
“The attempted desecration is enormous. Diabolical,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco tweeted. “Mother Mary, pray for them, now and at the hour of death. Amen.”
Pope Francis underlined that discernment is always needed “in the fight against abuses of all kinds.”
“St. Irenaeus of Lyon, who came from the East, exercised his episcopal ministry in the West: he was a spiritual and theological bridge between Eastern and Western Christians,” Pope Francis wrote.