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Paedophilia-investigating commission asks Vatican about Polish priests

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Chief of the state commission investigating paedophilia Błażej Kmieciak
Chief of the state commission investigating paedophilia Błażej KmieciakTVN24
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TVN24Chief of the state commission investigating paedophilia Błażej Kmieciak

Poland's state commission investigating paedophilia cases has sent an official letter to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding the number of disciplinary actions launched in relation to Polish clergy members between 2002-2020, and measures taken against them.

"As commission, in February and March, we asked all Polish dioceses and all bishops ordinaries to hand us documents regarding ended judicial-canonical inquiries, as well as administrative-canonical" - the chief of the commission Błażej Kmieciak said at a press conference on Thursday.

"There was a meeting at which we were reassured that conclusions, thoughts and analyses would appear, leading to us receiving those documents" - he said.

He added, however, the commission has received files from only one bishop court. "30 percent of cases of cases launched by the state commission relate to clergy members" - he said.

"We are aware of huge role and extremely important actions taken by the Catholic Church regarding prevention" - he stressed.

"At the same time, the state commission has been appointed under the act not only to investigate current cases, but also those that happened in the past. We can limit ourselves only to hearing the survivors. This is very important, but we must detect and explain the earlier mistakes that were made" - said the chief of the commission.

He argued that "some of the actions taken by hierarchs in this scope not only were insufficient, but also purely incorrect, wrong and led to harm and suffering of the survivors".

Kmieciak informed the commission decided to send an official document to the Vatican. "We've made this decision being aware, unfortunately, that no documents were sent to us by the Polish Episcopal Conference, that would allow us to examine in detail the cases we need to explain. We need to explain those cases not just because we want to, but also because survivors come to us saying plainly: we were there, we experienced suffering" - he said.

The letter contains questions to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding the number of disciplinary actions launched in relation to Polish clergy members between 2002-2020, and measures taken against them.

Kmieciak reminded that in 2019 Pope Francis removed the so-called pontifical secret. "Point number four of the so-called rescript removing the pontifical secret mentions a very important information saying that state offices and institutions have full right and entitlement to receive this kind of information and there should be no obstacles in revealing this sort of data" - he added.

"Time is of essence" - he said, pointing out that the Code of Canon Law dictates that, after 10 years in the secret archives, files pertaining to so-called moral matters are to be destroyed.

In May the Polish Episcopal Conference informed that it would not grant the commission access to the documents as it would raise "serious concerns in terms of both the state and church laws".

It was also mentioned that "there is a need to clarify if the removal of pontifical secret pertains also to cases from before the Pope's decision, and to specify the scope of the binding official secrecy".

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24

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