Allegations of former papal secretary’s negligence checked

Allegations in the Polish media of a former papal secretary’s negligence have resulted in an envoy from the Holy See making a ten-day visit to Poland.

The Vatican’s embassy in Poland says the subject of the investigation is retired Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz (now aged 82). Prior to his retirement he was the archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016 and earlier, was Pope St. John Paul II’s personal secretary.

During the visit the envoy, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, held a number of meetings and reviewed documents.

Bagnasco will be presenting his findings at the Vatican.

A priest in Poland, Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, says in 2012 he personally gave Dziwisz a letter containing evidence of sex abuse by a priest of a 12-year-old altar boy.

Dziwisz at first denied receiving the letter and suggested the abuse allegations should be investigated. Then he changed his statement saying the letter had been found.

The victim, Janusz Szymik, says Dziwisz did not respond to the letter.

Isakowicz-Zaleski says he has been questioned about a “certain Polish bishop” recently by an investigator from the Vatican, employed especially to investigate the alleged negligence.

In his opinion, the investigation means “Pope Francis is probably losing his patience with the leaders of the Polish episcopate.”

The Vatican has been investigating other Polish media reports of an alleged lack of some of the country’s senior Catholic clergy’s lack of response to reports of abuse of minors. The Vatican subsequently punished a few bishops and archbishops, who have been barred from religious and lay ceremonies.

The prompt for the Polish and Vatican investigations has come from two TV documentaries in 2019 and 2020. These documentaries created by independent journalists, told stories of victims of abuse by priests.

A state commission investigating around 330 reports and cases of sex abuse of people under age 15 has just released a comment about them this week. The commission says in around 30 percent of the cases, clergymen are cited as the perpetrators.

The State Commission for Pedophilia said it has written to the Vatican asking to be allowed to see its documents related to Poland. It says it had to do this because Poland’s church wasn’t cooperating with the Commission.


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