Allegations that Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz failed to investigate claims of clerical abuse aired in a television program Monday should be clarified by the Vatican, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference said.
Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki made the comment in a Nov. 10 statement, issued in response to the program “Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” shown on TVN24, a Polish commercial news channel, on the eve of the publication of the McCarrick Report.
The 82-minute program, presented by journalist Marcin Gutowski, accused the former personal secretary of St. John Paul II of failing to investigate clerical abuse allegations.
Gądecki said: “In reference to yesterday’s TVN24 report entitled ‘Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,’ in which Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz is accused of neglecting to investigate cases of sexual abuse by clergy, I hope that any doubts presented in this report will be clarified by the relevant commission of the Holy See.”
“At the same time, I would like to note that the Church in Poland is grateful to the cardinal for his many years of service at the side of St. John Paul II.”
The 81-year-old cardinal served as an aide to John Paul II until the Polish pope’s death in 2005. He was then appointed archbishop of Kraków, retiring in 2016.
In a Nov. 9 statement, Dziwisz said that he wanted to see the allegations clarified in a transparent manner.
“It is not about whitewashing or hiding possible negligence, but about honestly presenting the facts,” he said. “The victims’ welfare is of paramount importance. Children and young people can never again suffer in the Church the wrongs that took place in the past.”
“I am ready to fully cooperate with an independent commission that will clarify these issues.”
The Polish Catholic Church is in the midst of a reckoning on clerical abuse. In 2019, the Polish bishops’ conference issued a report which concluded that 382 clergy sexually abused a total of 624 victims between 1990 and 2018.
In June this year, Poznań archdiocese announced that the Vatican Congregation for the Bishops had authorized a preliminary investigation of accusations against Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz.
On Oct. 9, the archdiocese of Kraków announced a investigation into another Polish bishop. The archdiocese said that the pope had authorized Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków to conduct an inquiry into negligence claims against Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, concerning abuse cases involving two priests in Bielsko-Żywiec diocese.
Rakoczy, 82, served as bishop of Bielsko–Żywiec from 1992 until his retirement in 2013.
Last Friday, the apostolic nunciature in Poland announced disciplinary measures against a 97-year-old cardinal.
A Nov. 6 statement, posted on the apostolic nunciature’s website, said that Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz would be subject to strict restrictions as the result of an investigation.
Polish media reported Tuesday that Gulbinowicz had been admitted to hospital in a serious condition following the imposition of the measures.
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