“Purification of the Church in Poland of crimes of abuse of minors by some members of the clergy is only possible through honest and consistent clearance of the offenses as well as through an explanation and assessment of negligence on the part of ecclesiastical superiors,” said Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Primate of Poland and Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the protection of children and youth. His remarks were released on July 6, 2020, by the Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
Archbishop Polak reminded that in recent years the Church in Poland has been undertaking actions aimed at protecting minors. He informed that in 2013 Polish bishops appointed Fr. Adam Żak SJ as coordinator of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the protection of children and youth. Thanks to his initiative, the Child Protection Center was founded at the Ignatianum Academy in Cracow. The Center has run for 6 years a number of training courses on preventing sexual abuse directed to the people of the Church who are responsible for the education and pastoral of children and youth. The Center has trained over 6,000 people so far among priests and religious. In order to meet the need to qualify the staff of Catholic institutions of different kinds, the Child Protection Center launched postgraduate studies in the prevention of sexual violence against minors at the Ignatianum Academy. Since 2015, in all 44 dioceses and in over 60 male religious congregations, delegates for the protection of children and youth have been appointed; they are responsible among others for the acceptance of victims who want to report sexual abuse committed against them by members of the clergy. The Centre run by Jesuits has taken care of their professional preparation in a series of training sessions.
The Primate of Poland stressed that since 2019 there has also been operating a helpline “Wounded in the Church”, launched by lay Catholics. It is a support of the official report system for people who find it difficult to present their harm to clergy and need help and accompaniment in order to report their matter to a Church institution. “The activity of the helpline is a manifestation of the responsibility of lay people for the Church and their care for those who have been hurt there,” he said.