Sexual abuse: Polish Church faces new sanction



Month after month, the sanctions within the Polish Church unravel, in a terrible litany. Thus, the diocese of Wroclaw announced, on Saturday August 21, in a press release, the results of the procedure carried out by the Holy See against its archbishop emeritus, Mgr Marian Golebiewski, 83 years old, “ concerning (his) reported negligence in cases of sexual abuse of minors by certain priests ”. From now on, Mgr Golebiewski is banned from any public celebration and must make donations to a Catholic foundation for the protection of minors.

→ READ. Sexual abuse: New sanctions against Polish bishops guilty of “negligence”

The Archbishop Emeritus is sanctioned for negligence committed while he was Bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg (northern Poland) from 1996 to 2004, as well as when he was Archbishop of Wroclaw (west), from 2004 to 2013, adds the press release.

Since last year, the Vatican has sanctioned eight Polish bishops for covering up pedophile acts committed by members of the clergy, as well as a cardinal. In November 2020, the Vatican had thus pronounced very heavy sanctions against Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, 97 years old – who died a few days later -, following an investigation into alleged sexual assaults: ban from exercising his ministry, to use bishop’s insignia, to be buried in a cathedral… And the obligation to pay a sum of money to a foundation created by the Polish episcopate to help victims of sexual abuse.

A “wave of denunciation”

In July, the State Commission on Pedophilia indicated that priests were involved in nearly a third of the pedophile acts recorded in Poland in the years 2017-2020, out of a total of 345 cases studied over this period.

The commission, created in 2019, also indicated that it had not received, despite its requests, documentation concerning cases of child crime from the Church. In its own report presented in June, the Catholic Church revealed that it had received several hundred new complaints since 2018 for sexual assault on minors committed by members of the clergy.

We are facing a wave of denunciations », Explained at a press conference the Jesuit Adam Żak, coordinator of the Polish episcopal conference for the protection of children and young people and director of the Child Protection Center. ” The trend is not downward, it remains at a fairly high level of figures », He indicated.

The “great shame” of the Church

The Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, considered that all the victims have not yet revealed the acts of which they were the object. He mentioned ” the great shame and the immense pain ” of the Church and again asked for forgiveness for both the crimes and “Negligence” hierarchical superiors of the culprits.

→ THE FACTS. Poland: new figures on sexual abuse in the Church

In fact, the figures presented by the director of the Statistical Institute of the Church, Father Pallotin Wojciech Sadłoń, show that despite the worldwide wave of denunciations and sanctions, both ecclesial and judicial, sexual abuse is still prevalent. a reality in Poland.

Out of 368 cases of abuse recorded from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020 and attributed to 292 priests or religious, 65 relate to events that occurred in three years, from 2018 to 2020; the other cases relate to previous years, starting in 1958.

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