Former papal secretary asserts innocence

The Tablet

November 1, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

A retired cardinal who served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul II has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese, as another Polish bishop was placed under church investigation after similar claims.

“They seek to thrust responsibility on to me when I had no such responsibility and no knowledge of this matter,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. “Every priest has a conscience, and a bishop has a particular sense of responsibility. If I had known all these things, I would have reacted.”

The 81-year-old cardinal, who was the late pontiff’s secretary for 39 years, was responding to TV interview questions about a prominent sexual abuse case in the Krakow archdiocese, which he headed for 11 years until his retirement in 2016. He said he had no recollection of the case, insisting it fell under the jurisdiction of another retired prelate, Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, and added that he had always followed the “zero tolerance” policy, coupled with care for victims, instituted by John Paul II.

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