FOTO: Riječka nadbiskupija//Nadbiskup Mate Uzinić
At a press conference held on Monday, May 22, 2023, at the Residence of the Archbishop of Rijeka, Archbishop Mate Uzinić of Rijeka presented details about the procedures in the cases in which investigations of priests have been or are being conducted, noting that the necessary investigations have been initiated in all the cases he is aware of, reported to the State Attorney's Office and the competent Dicastery has been informed of the results.
Investigations have been initiated in nine cases, some of which were based on anonymous reports.
In addition to an apology to all the victims of any violence whatsoever perpetrated by priests and Church officials, he urged everyone who has knowledge of such acts to come forward and submit reports. “Help me prevent every abuser from committing further crimes. As a bishop, I do not have the option of putting them in prison but I can and will denounce them, remove them from the ministry and prevent them from abusing the trust of those entrusted to them, especially families and children.” He also appealed to the civil and Church legislators to abolish the statute of limitations for cases of abuse, especially of minors. “Once again, on behalf of the Church, I apologize to every victim of abuse by clerics or persons associated with the Archdiocese of Rijeka. No matter how many obstacles I encounter, I will not give up this fight. The Archdiocese of Rijeka should and must be a place of zero tolerance for any form of violence,” said Archbishop Uzinić.
He began the press conference with an emotional apology to the victims. “I feel profound sadness and shame for the abuse that minors and adults have endured from priests or other persons associated with the Archdiocese of Rijeka. As the Archbishop of Rijeka, I am acquainted with the reports of abuse that occurred in this archdiocese. Unfortunately, the scale of the abuse is often greater than what can be investigated successfully and, therefore, on my behalf and on behalf of the Archdiocese of Rijeka, I ask forgiveness,” said Archbishop Uzinić.
The archbishop briefly acquainted the journalists with each of the nine cases, and a detailed overview of the implementation of each canonical investigation was provided to the journalists in written form. The first process was completed before Archbishop Uzinić arrived in Rijeka as Coadjutor in late 2020. Five cases are related to accusations of the abuse of minors, while the remaining cases are connected with finances and concubinage. He noted that he had previously expressed his intention to inform the public about the overall situation concerning reports and prosecutions in the Archdiocese of Rijeka. “Some of the reports are anonymous, which significantly complicates investigations, but even in these cases I have done everything I knew and could in order to establish the truth and, thereby, justice for the victims. I must mention that if there should be new information or reports regarding subsequent cases, the canonical investigations will be reopened,” said the Archbishop of Rijeka.
The complete report is available on the website of the Archdiocese of Rijeka.