- Undoubtedly, the negligence of our superiors, who did not take the side of the wronged, undermines our credibility as a community of the Church – said the Pole when asked about cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergymen
- – We will rebuild the credibility of the Church only when we stand in the truth and take responsibility for clearing up all these crimes – he announced
- He spoke with reserve about the proposal to establish a commission composed of independent experts, similar to the French. In the opinion of the archbishop, the operation of state organs and church authorities is of key importance
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In an interview summarizing the year, PAP asked the hierarch about the latest results of the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church. They show that the pandemic strongly influenced the religious life of Poles. In 2020, there were significantly fewer weddings and baptisms, and fewer people received the sacrament of Confirmation. What, according to the primate, was the reason for these decreases?
– When we look at the results of the ISKK research, we must bear in mind that this year is difficult to analyze. This decline was influenced by many factors, including a major blow to the community life of the Church, such as sanitary restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, I think that the CBOS research is more disturbing than the ISKK data, which show that in the youngest group of respondents, the decline in religious practices reaches 30%. These are downright devastating numbers. They show that a very strong re-evaluation takes place in the young generation. This requires getting to know the reasons for this process and finding an adequate pastoral response and a way to proclaim the kerygma to these people – replied the Polish Archbishop.
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The interviewer then pointed out that the reports on the results of the Holy See’s investigations into the negligence of bishops in cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergy against minors could have had an impact on the faith of Catholics in Poland.
– Undoubtedly, the negligence of our superiors, who did not take the side of the wronged, undermines our credibility as a community of the Church. For some of the faithful, this information is perhaps a bit of bitterness. Some of them left the Church under their influence, and these things caused a deep crisis in their faith. Therefore, our answer is to take care of the wronged, their families, as well as people scandalized by cases of sexual abuse of children by clergy, said the Primate.
– Shaping the awareness of the people of the Church in the matter of pedophilia is supported by everything that we do in terms of creating church structures, as well as support groups for the injured. We also try to build this sensitivity through the prayers we undertake, for example by living on the first Fridays of Lent the Day of prayer and penance for the sins of sexual abuse of minors. We are aware that we will only restore the credibility of the Church if we stand in the truth and take responsibility for clearing up all these crimes – said the priest.
When asked about the appointment of a commission composed of independent experts, similar to the French, he stated that its creation alone would not solve the problem of sexual abuse of minors. – Neither the commission in France, nor those operating in other countries, have replaced criminal proceedings carried out by state bodies and by church authorities, whose aim is to find the truth and restore a sense of justice. It is their action that is crucial. That is why we encourage those who have experienced harm to report it to both the state law enforcement agencies and the Church. The Saint Joseph Foundation KEP and the Delegate’s Office have launched a special website zgloskrzywde.pl, which provides information on where and how to report this harm, as well as how to receive help, said Archbishop Polak.
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