Catholics are demanding the senior Slovenian archbishop resign over what they are calling his “dead ink on paper” anti-clergy abuse guidelines.
Driving the news
The Dovolj.je (“It’s Enough”) survivors’ group appealed January 15 for Ljubljana archbishop and Slovenian Bishops’ Conference President Stanislav Zore to step down, as the agency STA reported.
The demand comes in response to Zore’s business-as-usual approach to sexual abuse committed by the clergy, by which the archbishop continues to turn a blind eye to allegations and to draw up ineffective anti-pedophilia recommendations.
“Everything remains dead ink on paper”, Igor Vovk, a senior member of Dovolj.je and director of the Catholic pro-life NGO Zavod Iskreni, was quoted as saying.
The “It’s Enough” association said it has so far received 38 complaints of sex abuse against 22 priests.
The group said that while some complaints are handled adequately, in particular in the Murska Sobota diocese, others are going without proper investigation and follow-up.
Dovolj.je pointed to the particularly troubling case of priest Jože Planinšek, the director of the pastoral and youth centre Saint Joseph Home in Celje.
Although Planinšek has been accused of sexual assault by five people over two decades to 2010, “he is still doing his job as if nothing has happened”, complained priest Janez Cerar.
Five criminal charges have been filed against Planinšek, and although on four of those the counts the statute of limitations has expired, one count is still before the courts.
In the meantime, Dovolj.je is pushing for Planinšek’s order – the Slovenian Lazarists – to take action against the priest on the active count and to ignore the statute of limitations, but so far to no effect.
That’s why, as well as calling for Archbishop Zore’s resignation, “It’s Enough” is also demanding Lazarist head Tomaž Mavrič step aside as well.
Why it matters
Beyond the particular cases of alleged offenders like Planinšek, Dovolj.je is pushing the Slovenian Bishops to double-down on the fight against clergy abuse with more concrete measures, including the extension of the statute of limitations under Church law and the formation of an independent anti-abuse taskforce with lay members.
For its part, the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference is defending its President Zore, saying the “It’s Enough” allegations against him are “unfounded” and pointing to the Ljubljana archbishop’s April 2019 mandatory reporting guidelines as evidence of his “zero tolerance” approach to clergy abuse.