Symbol image abuse © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
The Catholic Church in Poland has completely shrouded a papal memorial that also shows an accused priest in response to a documentary on child sexual abuse by clergy.
Monument in western Polish pilgrimage town of Lichen depicts Pope John Paul II. (1978-2005) depicted receiving a model of the basilica there from a kneeling priest accused of abuse in the film. The fate of the monument will be decided in the near future, the responsible Polish province of the male order of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary (MIC) announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
Enormous interest for abuse documentary
Already on Sunday evening, the order had announced that priest Eugeniusz Makulski (91) had been banned from all pastoral activities because of his offenses. Until 2004, he was a curator of the important Marian sanctuary in front of which the monument stands. The abuse documentary "Just don't tell anyone" published on the Internet on Saturday met with enormous interest in Poland. By Tuesday afternoon, it had been viewed some twelve million times on the video platform "YouTube". In it, victims confront their former tormentors with their deeds.
After the opposition, Vice Gov. Jaroslaw Gowin also criticized the Catholic Church on Tuesday. "I think the church has failed the test in this matter," the science minister said on state radio. She must face the truth. However, the allegations only affected a "very small part" of the clergy, Gowin stressed. He had not met so many outstanding people in any other social group as among clergymen.
Apology to victims
President Andrzej Duda called for "zero tolerance" for child abuse in light of documentary film. "We must fight ruthlessly and everywhere against pedophilia," he wrote on Twitter. Justice Minister and Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday charged a specially formed group of prosecutors with analyzing the abuse depicted in the film. The opposition party Civic Platform (PO) introduced a bill in parliament to abolish the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children. The Catholic Polish Bishops' Conference apologized to all victims in a written statement immediately after the film was released.