After a new documentary on child abuse by Catholic priests in Poland, Primate Archbishop Wojciech Polak wants the Vatican to look into the allegations. Last year, a film about abuse had already caused horror.
As the child protection commissioner of the Polish Bishops' Conference, he is turning to the Vatican embassy in Warsaw for an investigation by the Holy See in accordance with Pope Francis' prescriptions, he announced over the weekend. In the film "The game of hide and seek" published on Saturday on the video platform YouTube, the bishop of Kalisz (Kalisch), Edward Janika, is accused of having done nothing against a priest who sexually abused children.
According to the Primate, the film shows "that the standards in force in the Church for the protection of children and young people were not respected". This concerned "the way in which the aggrieved persons and their families were treated" and the "failure to take appropriate measures after receiving information about the sexual abuse of children by a priest.". Polak thanked all those affected who had decided to speak about the suffering inflicted on them.
More than two million clicks in 24 hours
The documentary received more than two million clicks in the first 24 hours. With it, filmmaker Tomasz Sekielski and his brother continue their acclaimed documentary "Just don't tell anyone" about sexual abuse in the church. This had caused nationwide horror in Poland in May 2019.
"I ask priests, religious, parents and educators not to be guided by the false logic of concern for the Church, which leads to the concealment of sexual crimes," said the Primate. Any person affected should be offered psychological, pastoral and legal help quickly from the bishop's side, they said. At the same time, he stressed that the story from the film does not correspond to the "truth of the vast majority of priests". "We must not allow scandalous cases to undo the good that exists in the Church," added the archbishop of Gniezno (Gniezno) in western Poland.
Kalisz diocese rejects accusations
The diocese of Kalisz rejected the accusations made in the film against the local bishop. When the public prosecutor's office in December 2018 announced to the central Polish diocese the start of proceedings against the priest Arkadiusz H. The bishop of Kalisz, who had informed the bishop of the film, had also been the subject of ecclesiastical proceedings and the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had been informed.
After the first abuse documentary in 2019, Poland's Catholic bishops had acknowledged failures to protect children from sexual abuse. "We confess that as shepherds of the Church we have not done everything possible to prevent suffering," they declared in a message to the faithful read out in churches at the time.