“I have committed crimes. I feel so sorry for the victims of my evil deeds. From the bottom of my soul I beg pardon for their wounds.” These sentences appear on the front page of the Croatian magazine National. They come from Milan Shebahar, “the zealous priest for children” (original audio National). He gave the magazine an exclusive interview in which he admitted to abusing 13 boys between the ages of six and 13.
“No one is guilty or complicit in my crimes,” Zabahar lamented in the written interview. “I have no choice but to beg forgiveness from the bottom of my heart from his victims and their loved ones, forgive me, repent myself, and pray to God to heal all the wounds I have caused them.” He also asked forgiveness from the Church: “I was not worthy of their trust in me and my priestly vocation.”
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The first such case in the history of the Croatian Church
Abhar explained the opposite Nationalthat, pressed by his conscience, he asked the Pope to strip him of his priestly title and convert him to a secular one. This would set a precedent in the Croatian Catholic Church. There is no known case in their history of a priest publicly admitting to having sexually assaulted himself.
A few years ago, there were indications that Obahar, who was active at the time in the port city of Rijeka, had committed assaults. The Archbishop of Rijeka explained: “Priest M.O. Matty Ozenic In a written statement that National Present. “Investigations began, after which the accused declared himself guilty. Everything was reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. From then on, Obahar was not allowed to perform any services, and he was also prohibited from teaching at the university.”
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Further penalties cannot be ruled out
According to Ozenić, further allegations against Abihar came to light in 2018, after which investigations resumed. “The accused admitted there were other cases in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993 and possibly also in 1994. Reverend M. is said to have self-reported to the police,” Uzenić’s statement read.
Abihar asked the pope to pardon the celibacy and excommunicate from the clergy. This was granted on December 13, 2018. According to Ozenić, the case was then archived. “I also reported this case to the Rijeka Public Prosecutor’s Office.” The church’s internal investigation did not reveal any incidents between 1994 and 2018. It does not rule out further attacks. I have no knowledge of the status of the police investigation into this case.”
Ozenić said that pehar had nothing to do with the Archdiocese of Rijeka after his removal from the clergy class. “As far as we know, he is currently living in Italy in a closed Benedictine monastery in prayer and penance.”
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