Case of defrocked archbishop set to be crucial test for Vatican

Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

Fri, Aug 29, 2014

A case involving a Polish archbishop may prove to be a crucial test for the Holy See in its road to reform and change, as promised by Pope Francis.

Archbishop Wesolowski (66), formerly papal nuncio to the Domincian Republic, has been accused of paedophile behaviour both in the Domincian Republic and in his native Poland. Last June, a canon law court in the Vatican “reduced” him to “ lay status” after finding him guilty of child sex abuse.

Allegations of improper behaviour had been made against him last autumn by a TV channel in the Dominican Republic, which claimed that during his five years (2008 – 2013) as papal nuncio, he had regularly frequented an area in Santa Domingo, well known for child prostitution.


Last January, in response to media reports that Poland wanted to extradite the archbishop, the Holy See confirmed that as a Vatican City state citizen, he would be tried in Holy See (canonical) and subsequently Vatican City state courts. The ex-nuncio is awaiting an appeal, probably in October, against his June canonical court prosecution. Following that, he may be tried for child abuse in a Vatican City court.

The Wesolowski case resurfaced this week, following a report in the New York Times that provided details and first-hand evidence of his paedophile activities in Santo Domingo. Victims claimed Archbishop Wesolowski used to “cruise” the oceanfront promenade, looking for shoeshine boys to whom he would offer small sums of money ($10 dollars) in return for sexual favours. Sometimes, he wanted to watch the boys swim naked. On other occasions, he wanted to watch them masturbate on the beach.

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