“Cover-up, deception and even lies”

Symbolic image abuse © 271 EAK MOTO (shutterstock)

He accuses them of "hypocrisy." In protest of Polish bishops' behavior toward abuse survivors, a leading member of the Warsaw Church Foundation for Victims of Sexual Violence has resigned.

Robert Fidura, 53, who was abused by a clergyman as a 14-year-old, resigned his seat on the council of the Saint Joseph Foundation, established by the bishops' conference in 2019. In an interview with the Polish news agency KAI, he accused the bishops of "hypocrisy": "On the one hand, they donate to the foundation," while on the other, their cupboards are full of corpses.

Case of priest Andrzej Dymer

Fidura referred to the case of priest Andrzej Dymer, who allegedly abused four boys of a reformatory in the early 1990s. There had been "25 years of cover-up, deception and even lies". He emphasized that his resignation was not connected with the foundation or the child protection officer of the Bishops' Conference, Primate Archbishop Wojciech Polak, but "only with the Polish Bishops' Conference". Polak is "almost the only righteous one". He is doing what he can.

The Archdiocese of Szczecin-Cammin (Szczecin-Kamien) had said Wednesday that Dymer died Tuesday at the age of 58 after a long bout with cancer.

In his letter of resignation to the primate, Fidura laments that Szczecin Archbishop Andrzej Dziega, Gdansk Archbishop Emeritus Slawoj Leszek Glodz and "over 90 percent of bishops, focus their activities on discrediting the undead and torpedoing aid". Among other things, the journalist Fidura studied for two years at the seminary in Warsaw and taught Catholic religion in schools in 1996/1997.

Foundation offers help to those affected

The Saint Joseph Foundation offers support to victims of sexualized violence by clergy through psychologists, educators, lawyers and priests. The Bishops' Conference, on the other hand, sees the obligation to financially compensate the victims only with the perpetrators. There is therefore no ecclesiastical compensation fund.

Poland's vice-governor Jaroslaw Gowin had also criticized the church on Wednesday over the Dymer case. "Scandal is an understatement," he wrote on Twitter. "Either the Church finally puts the victims of sex offenders first or it will lose its credibility."

Poland's primate makes self-criticism

Poland's Primate Polak was also self-critical: "The outrageous length of the church proceedings in the case of priest Andrzej Dymer and the lack of adequate treatment of the injured parties at many stages of these proceedings cannot be justified," said the child protection commissioner of the bishops' conference. He said he was sorry that the expectations of the injured parties had not been met.

Dymer allegedly abused four boys of a reformatory in the early 1990s. Since 1995, his superiors are said to have known about it, but covered him up. According to the Archdiocese of Gdansk, the ecclesiastical court there on 12. The bishop of Szczecin announced a verdict in February that will now be sent to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Cammin, but will not be made public.

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