Polish nunciature: Archbishop’s resignation linked to negligence in addressing abuse claims

Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 1, 2024

By Daniel Payne

The Apostolic Nunciature of Poland has revealed further information regarding the resignation of Polish Archbishop Andrzej Dzięga, indicating that he stepped down due to alleged negligence in overseeing sexual abuse claims.

The Holy Father accepted Dzięga’s resignation last week. Neither the nunciature nor the Vatican had immediately given a reason for his departure. The prelate, meanwhile, had published a two-page resignation letter on Feb. 24 in which he cited a “radical weakening of my condition.” 

In the letter, he apologized to his “brother priests,” saying: “If my weaknesses, including incomplete understanding of specific circumstances, and sometimes even my ordinary human fatigue, became the cause of your anxiety, I am sorry.” The prelate has faced allegations that he ignored abuse cases in Poland.

The Apostolic Nunciature in Poland subsequently released a statement addressing the controversy, saying that the release was in “response to emerging questions” regarding the archbishop’s departure. 

The “decisions related to the departure of Archbishop Andrzej Dziega from the office of the metropolitan archbishop of Szczecin-Kamień were undertaken as a result of an investigation conducted on behalf of the Holy See regarding the management of the diocese,” the announcement said. 

The decision was related “in particular [to] the negligence referred to in the papal document Vos Estis Lux Mundi,” the statement said. 

Pope Francis first promulgated Vos Estis Lux Mundi in May 2019. The directive, first established on an experimental basis for a period of three years, established norms to counter sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. 

The document established “concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church,” Pope Francis wrote in the decree, “so that personal sanctity and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the full credibility of the Gospel message and the effectiveness of the Church’s mission.” It was expanded and made permanent in 2023. 

According to a 2021 report by the Polish Catholic outlet Więź, the Polish nunciature had received four reports from three separate individuals alleging that Dzięga covered up cases of sexual abuse. 

The report noted that the complaints were submitted following the publication of Vos Estis Lux Mundi.

In 2021 the Polish television network TVN24 aired a documentary alleging that Dzięga knew about abuse allegations against Father Andrzej Dymer as early as 1995 but took no action. 

According to Polish media, Dymer was convicted by a Church tribunal in 2008 of sexually abusing minors. Dymer appealed but died in 2021 before the appeal was adjudicated.

Daniel Payne is a senior editor at Catholic News Agency. He previously worked at the College Fix and Just the News. He lives in Virginia with his family.