John Paul II centenary celebrations marred by new abuse allegations

Irish Times

May 18, 2020

By Derek Scally

Wadowice, near Krakow, birthplace of Karol Wojtyla on May 18th, 1920, draws crowds

Celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of St John Paul II in his native Poland were overshadowed on Monday by fresh allegations of clerical sex abuse against children – and church cover-up.

Crowds gathered in the small town of Wadowice, near Krakow, where Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18th, 1920, to honour their famous son.

“Karol Wojtyla was one of the most important figures of the 20th century,” said Polish president Andrzej Duda in a letter read to worshippers at Mass. “His teaching and testimony still touch the hearts and minds of millions of people.”

In Rome, Pope Francis remembered the Polish man who served as pope from 1978 until his death in 2005. In his morning Mass, Pope Francis said that, “One hundred years ago the Lord visited his people.”

As millions remembered the Polish pontiff, a key figure in the country’s peaceful transition to democracy in 1989, nearly five million people in two days have watched the YouTube documentary Hide and Seek.

The second documentary by Polish filmmaker Tomasz Sekielski on child abuse within the Catholic Church, Hide and Seek tells of two brothers who were alleged victims of a priest who was shielded by his bishop.

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