- Catholic News Agency - Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trieste, Italy - The Diocese of Trieste has announced “with a spirit full of sorrow and dismay” that one of its priests, who had recently admitted to sexual abuse of a minor female, committed suicide on Tuesday.

Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi of Trieste learned Oct. 23 “of a grave matter many years ago that involved a 13 year old girl” and Father Maks Suard, according to an Oct. 28 statement from the diocese.

Fr. Suard, 48, was a priest of the Slovenian community of the Trieste diocese, and was parish priest of the small church of Santa Croce, in the territory of the Carso Triestino. He had served as a parish priest in several parishes of the San Dorligo area since his ordination in 1995; he was involved in the Boy Scout movement, and also worked as a teacher of religion in local schools.

On Oct. 25, Archbishop Crepaldi met with Fr. Suard, and on that occasion “the priest had admitted his responsibilities” and consented to the canonical procedure which would have to be taken.

In accord with St. John Paul II’s 2001 motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, abuse cases – which are among the “delicta graviora, or “more grave crimes” – must be forwarded to and investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The policy sped up and made more effective the Vatican’s handling of such cases, which had been previously been handled by the Congregation for Clergy.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can choose either to take over the case or authorize a diocesan trial, in which case the outcome must be forwarded to the congregation.

After Archbishop Crepaldi had explained to Fr. Suard that he had to undergo the procedure, the priest “with humility and serenity of spirit, asked for two days during which he could prepare a resignation letter and a written statement in order to ask forgiveness from God, the Church, and the girl for the evil committed,” the diocese stated.

The priest apparently hanged himself.

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