Poland’s Catholic Church lists 292 clergymen who are alleged to have abused over 300 boys and girls from 1958 through 2020. The cases were reported to church authorities from mid-2018 until the end of 2020.
At an online conference in Warsaw, the head of Poland’s Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, apologized to the victims and asked their forgiveness.
The 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 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, including a recent tightening of a restrictive law on abortion laws and support for the right-wing government and its policies, including tightening of restrictive laws on abortion and the right-wing of the church.
The Holy See is also investigating reports of negligence by retired Krakow archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.