You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Catholic Church Report Says at Least 360 Children Abused by Polish Priests Over 62 Years

Newsweek logo Newsweek 6/28/2021 Maggie Gile
a group of people standing in front of a large crowd of people: Pope Francis leads a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on June 2, 2021. - Pope Francis updates on June 1 the Catholic Church's criminal code by adding details on punishing sexual abuse crimes of minors by priests, measures long sought by activists against paedophilia. © Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images Pope Francis leads a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on June 2, 2021. - Pope Francis updates on June 1 the Catholic Church's criminal code by adding details on punishing sexual abuse crimes of minors by priests, measures long sought by activists against paedophilia.

Poland's Catholic Church released a report on sexual abuse of minors on Monday listing 292 clergymen who allegedly abused 368 boys and girls over 62 years, the Associated Press reported.

The cases involved were from 1958 through 2020 and reported to authorities from mid-2018 to the end of 2020. The reports came from victims, families, other clergymen, the media and others.

Of the cases reported, 144 have been confirmed or considered credible at the initial stage of the investigation by the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. An additional186 cases are still being investigated while 38 have been rejected outright.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

At an online conference in Warsaw, the head of Poland's Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, apologized to the victims and asked their forgiveness, echoing apologies he has made before.

"What is clear to see is that we have a wave of reports" in high numbers, since the time of the previous report published in March 2019, said Monsignor Adam Zak, the official in charge of tracking down and preventing abuse.

The church's first report, for 1990-2018, listed cases of 382 clergymen having allegedly abused 625 minors.


Video: Catholic church revises code to criminalize sexual abuse by priests (NBC News)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

The current report reflects new allegations that have been made since then.

Forty-two of the alleged perpetrators' names are the same as in the previous report, church officials said.

The new report comes as the Vatican investigates signals of abuse and of a lack of reaction by church leaders in Poland, a predominantly Catholic nation where the clergy enjoy special esteem.

The Vatican recently punished a few Polish bishops and archbishops for negligence and barred them from church and lay ceremonies. The Holy See is also investigating reports of negligence by retired Krakow archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who before that served as personal secretary to the late pope, St. John Paul II.

In the latest such development, Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski from the Legnica diocese in southwestern Poland. That follows the Vatican's probe into reports of the bishop's "negligence" in the case of a priest who abused a minor in the Siedlce diocese when Kiernikowski was its head from 2002-2014, a communique by local church authorities said.

Poland's Catholic church has long enjoyed special respect in the nation due to its historic role in preserving Poland's national identity during periods of foreign occupation and rule, and during the decades of communist rule that ended in 1989.

However, the church has recently seen some young Poles turn away from it due to anger over the view that the church has done too little to fight clerical abuse, and due to the church's support for the right-wing government and its policies, including a recent tightening of a restrictive law on abortion.

Pope Francis et al. standing in front of a crowd: TOPSHOT - Pope Francis (R) smiles to faithfuls upon his arrival to leads a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on June 2, 2021. - Pope Francis updates on June 1 the Catholic Church's criminal code by adding details on punishing sexual abuse crimes of minors by priests, measures long sought by activists against paedophilia. Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images © Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images TOPSHOT - Pope Francis (R) smiles to faithfuls upon his arrival to leads a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on June 2, 2021. - Pope Francis updates on June 1 the Catholic Church's criminal code by adding details on punishing sexual abuse crimes of minors by priests, measures long sought by activists against paedophilia. Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images

Related Articles

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Newsweek

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon