“This morning, I informed the Split-Makarska Archdiocese of Split and announced that the competent diocesan bishop (in this case Archbishop of Split, Marin Barišić), a cleric from the area of the Archdiocese ordered the suspension or suspension. Reason? The Archdiocese Ordinary received a notice of the possible criminal activity of the cleric in question. Interesting is the timing of the Archdiocese’s announcement – they admitted that something was happening a few days after the Index sent an inquiry into the case.
Archbishop’s Archbishop underlined the “good voice of all”
In spite of numerous journalists’ inquiries, Archbishopric said that he would not give any further information on the criminal offense suspected by the suspended cleric because of “the preservation of the good voice of all, primarily the victims”.
The statement also states that the church authorities, despite information on the possible perpetration of a criminal offense, did not report to the competent state authorities, ie the police and the State Attorney’s Office. This will, according to a statement by the Split-Makarska Archdiocese, be made only if the Church, through its own internal investigation, finds that the application is credible.
The Index unofficially found out that the “punishable offense” refers to the sexual assault of juvenile perpetrators committed by a friar from the monastery of St. Frane in Split.
Let us repeat again – the leading man of the Archbishopric of Split-Makarska, archbishop Marin Barišić, decided to conduct an internal church inquiry on the report that a friar from his Archdiocese had sexually abused minors for years. The fact that all citizens of the Republic of Croatia, including the Catholic Church priests, are obliged to report to the police all the information about the possible commission of a criminal offense, and particularly serious crimes such as sexual abuse of a minor, should not be reminded.
Church “investigates” pedophilia in its own rules
But what does the Church’s internal investigation do in such cases?
To begin with, it is clear that church investigations do not have the legal force of the police and DORH investigations and are not carried out under the laws of the Republic of Croatia, but by internal church rules or canon law.
From Split-Makarska Archdiocese today announced that “the Ordinary appointed a judge of investigators and notaries in the process of the previous investigation who were given the task to inquire about facts, circumstances and responsibilities (cf.1717)”.
“Investigation” Concealed by the Secrets of the
Crowd Translated from the church metaphysics, church “investigators” will work under Article 1717 of canon law. What does this article prescribe? In short – it is an internal inquiry that is conducted in complete secrecy, where the main priority is not the interests of the victim but the “good voice of anyone”.
“Whenever the ordinary has at least a probable notice of a criminal offense, be cautiously consulted personally or through another suitable person about facts and circumstances and about liability, unless this research is completely redundant,” cited in paragraph 1 of Article 1717 of the Canonical rights.
In paragraph 2 of this article, a special emphasis is put on the mystery of the interview: “We must keep in mind that for this reason the inquiry does not endanger the good voice of anyone”.
Let us remind you, from the Split-Makarska Archdiocese, that they will inform the state bodies of the results of their “investigation” only if it finds that the application is credible. In translation, if the Church estimates that the application is unbelievable, it will not even inform the police and DORH about it.
The state in the state
of the above is perfectly clear that the Church in Croatia behaves as a state in the state. Namely, instead of being immediately informed by any other natural or legal person about the possible commission of a (serious) criminal offense, the Church first conducts its own internal investigation (primarily emphasis on confidentiality) and then, depending on its results, informs the state authorities.
What a perversion of justice is, the next thought experiment is enough. Imagine that the case of pedophilia was reported in, for example, scouts, not in the Church. Then imagine that the scouts reported to the public that they would investigate themselves against the suspect pedophiles in their queues and that the case would report to the police only if their internal investigation showed that the application was credible. Whatever the reaction of the public and the competent authorities in this case, it is not difficult to guess.
The case was known by the police chaplain, the first superior suspect pedophile.
In this particular case, the situation is, if at all possible, even worse than the one mentioned in the aforementioned thought experiment. Namely, the first suspected pedophile suspect in Split is the Guardian of the monastery of Sv. Frane. He also carries out the duty of the police chaplain, meaning he is in regular contact with police officers.
But it did not affect him and / or the ecclesiastical authority, so the potentially serious offense they chose to “investigate” themselves without any notification to the police.
Police subsequently confirmed to the Index that they did not receive any such events, either from the victim or from any other source. But once the story has come to the media, the police will check all allegations and inform the State Attorney’s office of the facts.
The laws of the Republic of Croatia are beyond canon law – unless you ask the Church
Although this may not have been said in Croatia, the laws of Croatia are in the legal sense above the canonical right of the Catholic Church.
“The laws of a state are beyond the canon law, and every citizen and even a stranger must adhere to it regardless of whether the priest is a Catholic or an orthodox, a rabbi, or an affiliated Islamic religion,” explained Branko Šerić for Index lawyer.
Let us remind, Archbishop of Zadar Želimir Puljić shocked the Croatian public six years ago, claiming that – he does not have to report the case of priestly pedophilia to the state organs.
“Well, I’m not a man, a body, or an institution cooperating with Udby. I have some discretion,” Puljić said.
That, of course, is not true. Every citizen of the Republic of Croatia has a duty to report information about the criminal offense, and he was also the Catholic Cardinal, which was confirmed by the lawyer Šerić in the interview for Index.”