La Croix International [France]
August 6, 2021
President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe looked into allegations that Stanislaw Dziwisz, during his term as archbishop of Krakow, covered up cases of clergy sex abuse
The president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe has spent ten days in Poland investigating John Paul II’s former secretary over alleged covering up cases of clergy sex abuse of minors.
The aim was to verify signals, also made in public, of negligence by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz during his term as the archbishop of Krakow,” the Vatican nunciature in Poland said in a statement.
Retired Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco visited Poland June 17-26 where he held a number of meetings and reviewed documents regarding allegations against Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the late Polish pope’s private secretary for nearly 40 years.
Cardinal Dziwisz, 82, who has long been respected in his homeland for his proximity to the late pope, was Archbishop of Krakow (2005- 2016), the same archdiocese that John Paul headed before becoming pope. Benedict XVI made Dziwisz a cardinal in 2006.
A documentary that aired in November 2020 in Poland painted a much tarnished image of Dziwisz.
The documentary, which was broadcast on the Polish network TVN24, explored two cases of pedophilia dating from the time when Dziwisz was Archbishop of Krakow.
“I don’t know”, “I don’t remember”, “I don’t have time to meet you”, he repeatedly tells the film’s director, Marcin Gutowski, who tries in vain to convince the cardinal to grant him an interview.
But Father Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, who appears in the documentary, insists that he personally delivered to Cardinal Dziwisz a letter describing in detail one of these cases of sexual abuse.
When the cardinal finally does take the director’s question, he claims he “never received” the priest’s letter.
Isakowicz-Zaleski said he was recently questioned about a “certain Polish bishop” by a Vatican commission that specially came to Poland to investigate the matter, AP reported.
The Catholic bishops of Poland have released new statistics on sexual abuse in the Church, following the Holy See’s recent sanctioning of several prelates for “negligence” in handling cases of priests who abused minors.
Figures presented by the director of the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics, Pallotine Father Wojciech Sadłoń, show that some 368 cases of historical abuse were reported from July 2018 till the end of 2020.
Perpetrators were identified as 292 priests or religious. Most of the cases were from many years ago, dating back to 1958. But 65 cases of abuse actually took place between 2018 and 2020.