Poland’s Cardinal Dziwisz denies knowledge of abuse complaint, Maciel’s crimes

National Catholic Reporter

November 3, 2020

By Szymon Piegza

Krakow, Poland – Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the influential former long-time personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, is denying a priest’s accusation that he covered up a case of clerical abuse in 2012.

In an extraordinary Oct. 20 interview for the largest private TV station in Poland, TVN24, the cardinal also denied that John Paul had any knowledge of the crimes committed by Marcial Maciel Degollado, a serial child abuser and founder of the once-powerful Legionaries of Christ.

Dziwisz, who served as the Archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016, has been accused personally of not replying to a letter he was given about the case of Janusz Szymik, a long-time victim of the abusive priest Fr. Jan Wodniak.

Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, a Krakow priest, claims to have given Dziwisz the letter in 2012.

“I don’t remember conversations about that,” Dziwisz told TVN24, saying the matter did not pertain to him, as Wosniak did not belong to the Krakow Archdiocese but the nearby Diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec.

“I cannot have on my conscience that I didn’t help when someone sought my support,” said the cardinal. “It’s impossible. If I knew about all the details, I would react, although I had no right to do it because it was a different diocese.”

Isakowicz-Zaleski’s allegation against Dziwisz has attracted wide attention in Polish media, as the priest is the founder of the Brother Albert Foundation, one of the country’s largest non-profit groups helping those who are physically or mentally disabled.

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