STA, 18 January 2020 - Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore called on sexual abuse victims within the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church to report the crimes and dismissed accusations of Church inactivity, as he spoke for the Odmevi news show on Friday evening.
Urging the victims to report abuse cases, Zore said that such actions would help "remove all that does not belong in the Church".
The Dovolj.je (It's Enough) NGO, a Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in the Church, has recently accused the institution of its persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy or even its systemic cover-up.
The group has thus urged a couple of senior clerics to step down, including Zore, Slovenia's top cleric.
Zore said that such accusations were general statements reflecting an exaggerated reaction, since the Church had been active in addressing the issue.
He pointed out that it had dealt with every single case that was brought to its knowledge, involving the police and providing support for the victims.
The Ljubljana archbishop stressed that there had not been any reports of alleged cover-ups, adding that the Ljubljana Archdiocese had received a couple of sexual abuse reports since the summer.
Zore said that the issue had been weighing him down, since it was difficult to carry the burden and faith of the victims, their abuse and turmoil, but he was also burdened by the faith of the perpetrators since the Church had to take care of those priests as well.
"You cannot just simply write them off," he said, adding that the situation had tarnished the reputation of innocent priests as well.
Igor Vovk, a senior member of the Dovolj.je (It's Enough) group, told the press this week that the Church kept adopting and updating recommendations on how church workers should deal with allegations of sexual abuse, but "everything remains dead ink on paper".
The only one who has seriously dealt with the situation so far is Murska Sobota Archbishop Peter Štumpf, who stripped a priest of his status upon finding out he has been accused of sexual abuse, Vovk added.
Štumpf expressed support for Zore this week, though, declaring that "if Archbishop Zore resigns, Archbishop Štumpf resigns as well" and praising Zore's efforts in tackling the issue.