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RESPONDING to an investigation by two journalists who sought to uncover clerical abuse in the Catholic Church when Poland was under communist rule, Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno, above, has admitted that, “for decades we have been blind to the suffering of those harmed.”
The investigation was carried out by Tomasz Krzyzak and Piotr Litka of the Rzeczpospolita journal and published on May 19, according to OSV News.
They found that not only were abusive priests allowed to go unpunished, but some cases were actually rewarded. Some who cooperated with the regime’s security service. went on to became bishops between 1944 and 1989.
Even more astounding is that fact that, after the fall of communism, plaques were erected around the country to honour abusers as victims of a “repressive regime”
According to the journalists’ findings, the regime was eager to punish clerical predators in the 1950s and 1960s.
Image via YouTube
But in the 1970s and 1980s, “the regime wanted to let the priests go back to their parishes, because the communists had a goal of destroying the church, not protecting the children,” Krzyzak, above, said.
There were ‘ordinary priests,’ of course, among the abusers, but also highly respected names of university professors, authors and translators of books, builders of sanctuaries, social activists, famous researchers of the Bible or Catholic editors. I saw their case’s archives, and it’s not a pleasant read, especially the testimonies of the victims.
Krzyzak admitted the cases he saw were painful to read about.
One 13-year-old girl died delivering a baby conceived by rape of a priest in 1950s. I must say this case was the most horrific of all those we researched.
The journalists’ research showed that, during the period under investigation, around 1,100 were abused by 520 individuals within the RCC,
Polak, a delegate to the Polish bishops’ conference’s Office of Child Protection, is quoted by OSV News as saying:
Once again, I want to apologize for that. I hope that the research of independent experts will help the church in Poland to deal honestly with the past.
On March 15, the bishops announced they will create a commission of experts to investigate past cases of abuse of minors by clergy in the country.
The decision follows new claims that the future Pope John Paul II was negligent on the issue while serving as archbishop of Kraków.
The bishops have decided to start work on appointing a team of independent experts to undertake an investigation into the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy in the church in Poland.
Their task will be to diligently examine the documents both in the state archives and in the church archives in order to show the content in its entirety, taking into account the law and the state of knowledge, as well as the sociocultural context.
OSV News points out that it took the two journalists just nine months to carry out an investigation that experts and survivors of sexual abuse in Poland were urging the church to commission over the last four years.
Robert Fidura, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse in Poland, reacted to the journalists’ investigation by saying that what struck him most was “the indifference of the church.”
I want to thank the journalists for their work and determination. Criminals were protected and presented as heroes to society. Protecting them by the church looks like copying the methods of the communist regime.
You can also support my work via a one-off donation via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.
If you spot any typos in this report please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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