22:12 / 29.03.2023.

Author: Katja Miličić

Holy See responds to Archbishop’s remarks regarding sexual abuse case

Đakovo-Osijek Archbishop Đuro Hranić

Đakovo-Osijek Archbishop Đuro Hranić

Foto: HTV / IMS

Đakovo-Osijek Archbishop Đuro Hranić failed to express the required and recommended level of empathy to the victims of priest who allegedly abused minors in his flock, the diplomatic mission of the Holy See in Croatia has said in a statement.

The apostolic nunciature responded to remarks made by Archbishop Hranić at a news conference on Tuesday regarding alleged sexual abuse by priest Zlatko Rajčević in Sotin, near Vukovar.

Hranić has come under fierce criticism for failing to take meaningful action to address the allegations. The apostolic nunciature said Hranić did formally abide by the law but failed to express empathy towards the victims, lending more credence to the words of the priest than those of the mother of one of the alleged victims, who reported the abuse.

The weekly Novosti reported earlier this month that Hranić tried to sweep the case under the carpet. The mother of the victim reported in 2016 that Rajčeić had abused her daughter for years, up until she turned 18. The daughter was 24 when she reported the alleged abuse.

At the news conference, Hranić said that one of the reasons he did not remove the priest was because he did not want to "destroy his world." He said the priest was already old and sick and that he did not feel there was a need to transfer him to another diocese before a trial or conviction in the case. Hranić said the case had been reported to the State’s Attorney’s Office in late 2017, which did issue an indictment but the case was not pursued further. Rajčević died in 2021.

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