Expert says Poland experiencing a sea change on clerical abuse

Pontifical Commission Protection Minors

: Expert says Poland experiencing a sea change on clerical abuse
Author: Inés San Martín
Publisher: Crux
Date: 30AUG2021

ROME – In the past year, 10 bishops in Poland have been removed from their positions and sanctioned by the Vatican, with the papal representative in the country openly acknowledging the reason – in most cases, cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

This quick succession of sanctions comes after decades of denying any wrongdoing on the part of Polish priests and religious regarding clerical sexual abuse, and it reflects a change in mentality among at least some within the bishops’ conference, who requested the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to organize a conference for Church leadership in Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw.

The papal commission, headed by American Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, agreed to arrange the conference almost two years ago, when the request came in. COVID-19 travel restrictions led to a postponement, but it’s now expected to take place Sept. 19-22.

“I think it’s important because it shows that the attention of the Church with regards to child sexual abuse and prevention needs to truly cover the whole world and all regions,” German Father Hans Zollner told Crux over the phone. “The Catholic Church is represented in basically all the countries in the world, and this means that there are specific historical conditions [in different places].”

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