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The Episcopate will set up a team to deal with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy

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The practice of solving problems related to crimes committed by some clergy against minors in the past will be the subject of work by specialists, taking into account the issue of the credibility of documents from the period of the People’s Republic of Poland – stated in the communiqué after the 394th Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, expressed hope that “the team and its work will be a real help for the injured, who deserve truth and help in the process of healing them.”

On March 13-14, the 394th Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference was held in Warsaw. In a communiqué published after the meeting, it was announced that “the practice of solving problems related to crimes committed by some clergy against minors in the past will be the subject of work by specialists, taking into account the issue of the credibility of documents from the period of the People’s Republic of Poland”. “Out of concern for the well-being of the victims, the bishops intend to set up such a team” – added.

Primate of Poland: I hope that the team and its works will be of help to the injured

During the press conference, the Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, said that “the bishops decided to start work on appointing a team of independent specialists to undertake research on the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy in the Church in Poland.”

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He explained that “the task of the team will be a thorough examination of the documents contained in both the state and church archives, so that the content contained therein is shown in its entirety, taking into account the law and the state of knowledge, as well as the socio-cultural context.”

He noted that it is difficult to talk about the team in detail at the moment. It’s a directional decision. All the bishops were for. Nobody was against it, said the primate.

– I hope that the team and its work will be a real help for the injured, who deserve truth and help in the healing process, which also involves a very specific explanation of all cases – he said. – The road we want to follow is the functioning Saint Joseph Foundation – he added.

Primate of Poland Archbishop Wojciech Polak after the 394th Plenary Meeting of the Polish Episcopal ConferencePAP/Marcin Obara

Archbishop Pole: A team of specialists will investigate cases throughout Poland

– We have matured and are maturing (…) to investigate this matter comprehensively. It’s not just about Krakow and Pope John Paul II – maybe it’s not even about him, because these matters are systematically investigated. It’s about a team of specialists who will be in all of Poland, in each of our dioceses, or in religious congregations, to use the language of the church, he said.

He noted that this extension of research is intended to help in a broader understanding of the scale of the problem of sexual abuse of minors. – There are studies conducted by the Episcopal Conferences in Portugalin Spain, in the Netherlands and France. We try to use these studies, i.e. the methodology of these studies, in such a way as to do it in a professional, competent and credible way, also for the wronged people who are waiting for such an answer – said Archbishop Polak.

He stressed that “reliability must be preserved”. – The truth that Saint John Paul II demanded and taught us requires that reliable research cannot cause harm to this or that person. This is supposed to be help, above all, not to look for a situation that would end up accusing innocent people – he reserved.

According to the primate, the team of specialists is to be composed of professionals proven “not only in terms of human honesty, but also a professional workshop that will avoid mistakes”. – We believe that it is possible – not to harm people, but for the good of people – he stressed.

When asked who would be part of this body, the Primate indicated that “for today he can only say that the spectrum must be broad”. They will include historians, psychologists and lawyers, he said.

– We don’t have ready answers. We are at the decision stage. (…) We have the Permanent Council in May, then the next Plenary Assembly in June. (…) We want to see and we are watching how such commissions function, who they are composed of – he added, pointing to solutions in Portugal and France.

Archbishop Ryś: We appeal not to make John Paul II a topic of political struggle

Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś was asked by journalists for his opinion on the subject Resolution of the Sejm on the defense of the good name of Saint John Paul II and is the Pope not thus exploited by one party – PIS.

– We appeal in the position that will be announced not to make the topic of John Paul II a topic of political struggle. I also want to say that (…) it is not always the case that if two subjects say the same thing, they do it in relation to each other, especially in causation. I have the simplest example, but it will be painful. When the graves of Polish soldiers in Katyn were discovered, they applied for the establishment of an international commission of the Red Cross Germany and General Sikorski appeared. Based on this, General Sikorski was accused by Stalin of collaborating with the Germans. The fact that two entities express the same opinion does not necessarily mean that they do so in agreement and in relation to each other – said Archbishop Ryś.

– We have no problem defending John Paul II, because for us the sanctity of this pope is indisputable, so we speak on our own behalf. On the other hand, we appeal very, very much not to make John Paul II tenders on political grounds, added the clergyman.

Spokesman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Fr. Leszek Gęsiak specified that “probably today” a statement will be published containing the above phrase regarding the pope.

In the communiqué issued after the 394th plenary meeting of the Polish Episcopate, we read that “in view of the recent unprecedented large-scale attempts to discredit the person and work of Saint John Paul II, the bishops appeal to everyone to respect the memory of one of our most outstanding compatriots.” “The conducted process of canonization leaves no doubt about the sanctity of John Paul II. At the same time, the bishops thank everyone who from the very beginning defended the good name of the Holy Pope” – it was written.

Reportage “Franciszkańska 3”

Last week, TVN24 aired the latest report “Franciszkańska 3” from the “Bielmo” series. Marcin Gutowski showed unknown facts from the life of Karol Wojtyła from the time when he was not yet the pope. The reporter talked to the victims of priests who were still under Cardinal Wojtyla in the 1960s. He reached the people who personally informed the cardinal about the crimes committed by the clergy, and the church documents confirming the actions and omissions of Wojtyla.

READ MORE: John Paul II knew about pedophilia in the Church. As a cardinal, he “protected above all the institution, not the victims” >>>

Priest Prusak: let the Pope show his face

Father Jacek PrusakJesuit, director of the Institute of Psychology at the “Ignatianum” Academy in Krakow, said on Tuesday in “Rozmowo Piaseckiego” on TVN24 that it is necessary that we “face the historical truth, verify it and not run away from the problem.”

– It shouldn’t be an escape, fear. But we are talking here about the reception of a person of great importance for the vast majority of Poles, so each potential flaw in his image causes a defensive reaction, and on the other hand, an inability to deal with this flaw – he said. – It’s such a shock right now. We have to come out of this shock in order to see from a distance what we are talking about and learn to talk about it in a responsible way – he added.

– Let the pope show his face as it was, and not just the one we are used to and which we like – he said.

Priest Prusak: For now, there is a shock, we have to get out of it. Let the pope show his faceTVN24

“The purpose of the synod is not to change the doctrine of the Church”

The Tuesday communiqué of the Polish Bishops’ Conference also informed that during the 394th Plenary Meeting, the bishops got acquainted with the course of the Continental Synodal Assembly, which took place in February in Prague.

The bishops reminded that “the aim of the synod is not to change the doctrine of the Church, but to seek an answer to the question of how – within one Catholic Church with its hierarchical structure – to implement synodal spirituality.” It added that they also adopted the theme of the pastoral program that will be implemented in the Church in Poland starting from this year’s Advent: “I participate in the community of the Church.”

Press conference after the 394th Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ ConferencePAP/Marcin Obara

The matter of preparations for the beatification of the Ulma Family

The Polish Episcopate also informed that Archbishop Adam Szal, Metropolitan of Przemyśl, presented the bishops with the state of preparations for the beatification of the Ulma Family, which will take place on September 10 this year in Markowa. “It will be an unprecedented event in the history of the Church, because the whole family will be raised to the glory of the altars: spouses and children, among whom there is an unborn child. The Ulma family courageously practiced Christian mercy, living the spirit of the Eight Beatitudes. All its members were murdered on March 24, 1944 by the German occupiers for sheltering persecuted Jews,” the bishops wrote.

“The bishops encourage prayer for the spiritual fruits of the beatification and decided that the relics of the Blessed should peregrinate in dioceses in Poland. This will be an opportunity to revive pastoral care and pray for married couples, families and children,” the communiqué reads.

As reported in the communiqué, the bishops referred to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. “The bishops once again express their great gratitude to Caritas, other aid organizations, the faithful and people of good will who actively joined in helping the victims of war and provide it constantly” – it was written. They appealed “for continued prayer for peace and for the generous continuation of this aid.”

The Polish Episcopate noted that the meeting took place on the 10th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the Holy See. “On this occasion, the bishops celebrated, under the leadership of Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the apostolic nuncio in Poland, the Eucharist at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw-Wilanów. They conveyed to the Holy Father Franciszek warm wishes for the light of the Holy Spirit and assurance of spiritual communication. At the same time, they thanked the Nuncio for over six years service to the Church in our country.

Main photo source: PAP/Marcin Obara

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