KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter from the Polish web portal Onet.pl
October 15, 2020
By Szymon Piegza
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Polish bishops, and the Vatican’s ambassador in Poland are responsible for the case of Janusz Szymik, a long-time victim of the abusive priest Fr. Jan Wodniak. Why does the injured person have to fight for justice for over 25 years, and still waits?
The question, still hanging open, raises difficult issues for the Vatican, as Dziwisz was Pope John Paul II’s trusted secretary for 27 years before serving as the Archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016.
Szymik claims that between the years of 1984 and 1989 he was sexually abused almost 500 times by Wodniak in the village of Międzybrodzie Bialskie, about two hours southeast of Krakow.
“It lasted so long, because I was a child who was cornered by him, lived in a snare, because there was nobody to turn to for help, and Wodniak knew it perfectly well,” Szymik explained to me, adding that due to the experience he came close to committing suicide.
From 1992 forward, the village in which Szymik was abused became part of a new diocese, Bielsko-Zywiec, which was established by John Paul. It was headed by one of the Holy Father’s closest associates: Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy. This name is worth remembering as it will prove crucial to the whole story.
“In 1993, I went to Bishop Rakoczy, hoping that he would be on the side of the victim, not the abuser. I wrote down my memoirs from the period of 1984 to 1989. Neither the bishop nor anyone else from the bishop’s curia ever contacted me about this matter,” recalled Szymik.
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