An investigative documentary produced by a Polish television channel provides documents and testimonies that suggest that John Paul II knew and hid cases of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church in his country.
The program, broadcast on Monday night, is according to its director, Marcin Gutowski, the result of two and a half years of researchinterviews and trips, and several people who were closely related to the Polish Pope, as well as members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, parade through it.
In it the cases of three priests who Karol Wojtila, then Archbishop of Krakow, transferred between various locations are reviewed in the 1970s upon learning of the accusations against them.
The testimonies include one of the father’s victims Eugeniusz Surgent, who is accused of sexual assaults on minors in at least five different parishes and that it was denounced directly to John Paul II by several people.
Another of those involved in abuses was Father Saduswho, after working as a catechism instructor, in direct contact with children, accumulated a large number of complaints for sexual assaults on minors and was finally sent to “a lucrative job” in the Austrian parish of Gaubitsch, through the direct intercession of John Paul II .
At the time when he served as cardinal, Wojtila was also aware of accusations against other priests under his authority. and sometimes he received that information directly from the victims, who would come to request his help from parishes throughout the region.
The testimonies coincide in pointing out that, in all these cases, the future John Paul II first insisted on confirming the veracity of the facts and then promised to take action on the matterbut never carried out any complaint or imposed any punishment against the guilty.
Some of the documents shown in the investigation are reports from the Polish National Memory Institute proving that at least one of the priests in question worked for the communist political police.
In addition, the material analyzed by the journalists shows that the one who was John Paul II’s mentor in his early years, Cardinal Sapiehaforced some seminarians to carry out sexual practices that included violent acts.
Rembert Weaklandwho was Archbishop of Milwaukee (United States) for 25 years, is interviewed in the report and assures that John Paul II confessed to him that he knew of Sapieha’s behavior and that, when questioned about it, he confessed “not knowing what to do” and , according to Weakland, “tumbled down.”
A former student of John Paul II, Dr. Anna Karon-Ostrowskadeclares in the report that “perhaps Karol Wojtila got used to, terrible as it sounds, that such things happen in the Church” and that is why he chose to hide them.
The Archbishop of Krakow, Marek JedraszewskiJędraszewski on Wednesday compared claims that John Paul II knew about and concealed cases of child abuse in the Church with the attempted assassination of the pontiff in 1981. Jędraszewski rejected the cover-up allegations against John Paul II