Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
This is a screen grab from a scene in the documentary "Hide and Seek," which debuted on YouTube May 16, 2020. It accused the Polish church of continuing to cover up sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. (CNS photo/YouTube)

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II coincided with a new film, "Hide and Seek," screened on YouTube May 16. It accused the Polish church of continuing to cover up sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The same day, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, primate of Poland and the bishops' delegate for child protection, said he would ask the Vatican to initiate proceedings against Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz for failing to discipline a priest incriminated by the film.

Archbishop Polak said the film showed required child protection standards were still not being observed in the Polish church.

"I thank the victims who talked about the harm they suffered, and I urge everyone with knowledge about the sexual abuse of a minor to remember they are obliged in conscience and by law" to notify authorities, Archbishop Polak said.

"I am also asking priests, nuns, parents and educators not to follow the false logic of concern for the church in concealing the perpetrators of sexual offenses."

"Just Don't Tell Anyone," an earlier film by the same directors, Marek and Tomasz Sekielski, made similar allegations in May 2019 and attracted 23 million YouTube viewers.

Shortly after its release, the Polish bishops' administrative council met in emergency session and later admitted the church failed to act against clerical sexual abuse.

"There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals clergy have participated in. They are a source of great evil and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the criminals and for those who concealed such acts," the bishops said.

Earlier that same month, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had revised and clarified norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable in protecting minors as well as in protecting members of religious orders and seminarians from abuse. The norms made heads of dioceses responsible for alerting the proper Vatican authorities of all forms of suspected abuse, including the possession, distribution or creation of pornography involving a minor.

If asked to resign, Bishop Janiak would be first Polish prelate to lose his post over sexual abuse.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

"Five years have passed since I visited this place with my dear brothers Bartholomew and Ieronymos. After all this time, we see that little has changed with regard to the issue of migration."
Pope FrancisDecember 05, 2021
My father shaped my concept of God, and Ignatian prayer brought me closer to my father and Christ.
Pierre ThompsonDecember 05, 2021
A Reflection for the Sunday of the Second Week of Advent
Kerry WeberDecember 05, 2021
A Reflection for the Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Maurice Timothy ReidyDecember 04, 2021