Polish Church defends St John Paul against abuse claims

The Tablet

December 9, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland’s Catholic Church has vigorously defended the record of St John Paul II in handling clerical sex abuse, after a November Vatican report raised questions about his promotion of the disgraced American ex-cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, as hundreds of priests, university professors and public figures also signed petitions upholding his good name.

“In any historical assessment of John Paul II’s attitude, the decisive factor is undoubtedly the knowledge he had or sought, and the decisions he took from the information he had,” said a survey of the case, prepared for the Polish Bishops Conference. “All evidence indicates that John Paul II’s decisions cannot be treated as hasty or reckless, but should be seen as based on carefully weighed information.”

The survey was published in response to attacks on the late pontiff in light of the 460-page report, which relates how John Paul II appointed McCarrick Archbishop of Washington in 2000 and raised him to cardinal a year later, despite past accusations of abuse while he was a bishop and archbishop in New York, New Jersey and Newark.

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