IPN reacts to TVN’s attack on JPII

IPN reacts to TVN’s attack on JPII

Finally, there is a reliable answer to the question of whether Cardinal Wojtyła “covered up” pedophilia.

A historian from the Institute of National Remembrance has revealed previously unknown facts.


IPN reacts to TVN’s attack on JPII: “The documents that I know show that Cardinal Wojtyła reacted and reacted quickly when he received information about priests abusing minors,” says Łucja Marek, Ph.D., from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Cracow. In the interview, she reveals many unknown and hitherto unpublished facts and also refers to the credibility of Marcin Gutowski’s TVN report and Ekke Overbeek’s book.

IPN historian: ‘The ‘Franciszkańska 3’ reportage is unreliable.

KAI: From the point of view of a historian and researcher of the period, how do you assess Marcin Gutowski’s reportage and Ekke Overbeek’s book? How would you characterize the research methodology of these authors?

Łucja Marek, Ph.D.: “Both the film report “Franciszkańska 3” and the book “Maxima culpa. John Paul II knew” cannot be called credible. They are not works whose authors try to analyze and evaluate objectively the source materials to which they had access. They do not examine them from a critical perspective, taking into account the peculiarities of these sources and confronting them with other materials, if only in a broader sense with sources of the same provenance, i.e., other documents produced by the communist security apparatus. The research carried out by Marcin Gutowski and Ekke Overbeek does not conform to historical research standards, nor reliable journalistic reporting. It is an ahistorical interpretation and an ahistorical evaluation of the sources of the former UB and SB (communist-era Polish security services-JCz), which today are in the resources of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).”

Why is it an “ahistorical” evaluation?

Because the behavior and decisions of the people of that time, including Cardinal Karol Wojtyła himself, are assessed through the prism of today’s knowledge, ignoring the realities of that era. The authors also fail to take into account the wider historical context, i.e., the social consciousness of the time, especially the situation of the Church in a totalitarian state. Furthermore, both Gutowski and Overbeek show an unreliable approach to the documentation to which they had access. The documents they analyzed were treated selectively. Only those pieces of information and passages were taken from them that in some way corresponded to the thesis that the authors were trying to prove, or, as in the case of Overbeek, they were overinterpreted in an unauthorized manner. There is a lack of analysis and conclusions based on the totality of the surviving material in a given case.

Wojtyła as cardinal reacted quickly to reports of pedophilia.

Has the thesis that Cardinal Wojtyła would cover up the crimes of priests accompanied their research from the beginning?

“At the beginning, the authors pose some research questions, but later – as they become familiar with the historical material – they abandon them. Gutowski and Overbeek’s narrative flow, their way of interpreting and over-interpreting, and their selective use of documents give the impression that they are nevertheless guided by a specific thesis. I perceive a unidirectionality of the questions posed and a very unidirectional interpretation of the sources. As a result of this approach, the research cannot be described as reliable. Meanwhile, the journalist’s style, although not strictly of a scientific nature, has much in common with the historian’s technique. A journalist must take the same critical approach to the sources he encounters, confront them with others, ask many questions, and try to find answers. All this is essential in the search for the truth.”

To what extent do the film and the book bring us closer to the truth about the actions of Karol Wojtyła, when he was Metropolitan of Cracow, towards priests who committed pedophile acts?

 “In my opinion, neither Gutowski’s film nor Overbeek’s book brings us any closer to the truth. My own research on the same sources leads to quite different conclusions. Namely, they show that Cardinal Wojtyła reacted, and reacted quickly, as soon as he received information about abuses by priests. Such unequivocal conclusions are drawn from the analysis of the same material to which the journalists had access concerning Fr. Józef Loranc and Fr. Eugeniusz Surgent. Similar conclusions were reached by Tomasz Krzyżak and Piotr Litka, journalists who had already described the cases of these two priests.”

In the case of Fr. Loranc, Wojtyła reacted immediately, on the same day. So let’s take a closer look at these facts.

“Józef Loranc was a priest of the Archdiocese of Cracow. Cardinal Wojtyła became aware of the priest’s unworthy behavior on March 2, 1970. It consisted of the lewd treatment of girls attending religious instruction in the chapel in Mutne. Two days earlier, on February 28th, the information had reached Fr. Loranc’s immediate superior, the parish monsignor of Jeleśna, Fr. Feliks Jura, where he worked. Mothers came to the parish with their daughters and informed him of the priest’s behavior.

The parish monsignor did not take the mothers’ reports lightly and spoke to the girls privately. On this basis, he concluded that what the mothers had said was true. The priest also called and spoke with Father Loranc, who confessed and repented in the presence of the mothers. The next day, Father Jura went to see the dean, spoke to him, and arranged a meeting with the Curia in Cracow as soon as possible. As March 1st was a Sunday, he arrived there on March 2nd. Father Loranc was also to appear at the Curia. Here we see a series of immediate actions.

In Cracow, Cardinal Wojtyła was first approached by the monsignor, who informed him of what had happened. Fr. Jura’s account shows that Cardinal Wojtyła was shocked by what he heard and at first had some doubts as to whether Father Loranc could have gone so far. He summoned him to his office and, in conversation with him, was reassured that the accusations were true. The cardinal’s decision was immediate: he forbade Fr. Loranc to return to the parish and ordered him to go to his family to await further decisions. Later that week, he informed the monsignor of his decision to suspend the vicar. This means a ban on all priestly activities and, of course, instructing in catechism classes. We don’t know exactly when this decision was taken, but it was certainly before the cardinal’s trip to Rome, that is, before March 7th. This information reached the Jeleśna parish on March 10th. Wojtyła also ordered Fr. Loranc to go to the Cistercian monastery in Mogiła to await the results of the ecclesiastical investigation.”

The public prosecutor’s office did not accuse the Curia of any omission or cover-up.

“The local party authorities also became aware of Father Loranc’s behavior and it was they who informed the Security Service on March 3rd, which then carried out an investigation. The headmaster of the school in Jeleśnia, the mothers of the girls, and the parish priest were questioned on the spot. Based on the information gathered, the prosecutor decided to open an investigation on March 12th. As a result of further activities, including the questioning of witnesses, the prosecutor charges the suspect and decides to apply a preventive measure against him in the form of temporary arrest. Father Loranc was arrested on March 18th on the grounds of the Mogiła monastery.

It is noteworthy that at no time during the investigation of this case did either the SB  (communist-era security services-JCz) operatives/investigators or the prosecutors make any accusations of omission, cover-up, or late reaction, either against the monsignor, the Curia or Cardinal Wojtyła. Nor are there any such accusations from the mothers of the victims who were interviewed during the investigation.

When Fr. Jura learned of Loranc’s actions, he went to the parish where the priest had previously served to find out if such behavior had occurred there. This was the parish of Kobierzyn. These speculations were not confirmed, but Fr. Jura learned from local doctors that Fr. Loranc had shown some strange behavior. The Curia wanted to have him psychiatrically examined in connection with his behavior towards the girls in Mutne.”

Overbeek did not tell the truth in his book. The SB documents say something else

It should be added that the investigative department of the Security Service also sent inquiries to the district militia commands where Fr. Loranc had previously worked in parishes, asking whether any complaints or information had been received about his inappropriate behavior towards minors. However, no confirmation was received. All replies were negative. The surviving SB documentation does not show, and this is what Overbeek suggests, “that Archbishop Wojtyła had a problem with Father Loranc before he sent him to Jeleśnia.” Nor does it show that the priest went down the path of repeat-offending after serving his sentence. However, Overbeek concludes, contrary to critical analysis, that this is indicated by a July 1974 letter to Cardinal Wojtyła, drafted and written by an SB official, in which an anonymous parishioner complains about Fr. Loranc’s clearly inappropriate behavior towards girls in Zakopane. Based on only this anonymous letter, which was compiled by the SB in the course of its operational activity – without knowing the circumstances and purpose of its creation, and without having other sources of information in this regard – it is impossible to formulate such a far-reaching and unequivocal conclusion.”

Gutowski and Overbeek go on to claim that Fr. Loranc, after serving his prison sentence, will return to priestly activities and will be able to molest children again.

“As a historian, I read the same documents as Overbeek and Gutowski but came to different conclusions. In a letter to Fr. Loranc after his release from more than a year in prison, Cardinal Wojtyla stresses that every crime should be punished, that there is guilt and that punishment must be suffered. He pointed out that although the ecclesiastical tribunal had waived the penalty in view of the fact that Fr. Loranc had been punished by a civil court, this did not invalidate the crime and did not erase his guilt. Taking into account his repentance, sincere improvement, and willingness to make amends, Cardinal Wojtyła lifted the suspension and Fr. Loranc was gradually returned to pastoral work, but not to work with children and young people. He was first sent to Zakopane. There he stayed in a monastery and transcribed liturgical books, but he was not in the parish but assisted in certain strictly defined ministries. All this is done under the supervision of the local monsignor. And it is this monsignor who, after two years, asks the Curia to reappoint Father Loranc as parish priest. But without the right to work with young people and without the right to teach catechism classes. We can assume that the monsignor exercised control over Fr. Loranc’s pastoral ministry and that the request to appoint him a vicar, at a time of staff shortages in the parish, was based on observations of his behavior.”

When an anonymous letter about Fr. Surgent reached the Curia, he was immediately removed from the parish. And in light of the SB documents you worked on, how can we judge Karol Wojtyła’s behavior towards Father Surgent?

“There is also an immediate reaction of the Curia in the case of the other priest shown in the reportage and described in the book, Fr. Eugeniusz Surgent, who committed lewd acts with underage boys, with altar boys. Overbeek convinces the reader that Wojtyła knew of Fr. Surgent’s weakness for boys when he sent him to work in Kiczor, where he committed such offenses, and that this is why he was frequently transferred. Meanwhile, a careful analysis of the SB files does not allow one to draw the conclusion that Fr. Surgent had previously been transferred from parish to parish because of his abuse of minors. SB officials repeatedly emphasized that he was a very conflicted priest. He was quick to get into disputes (‘collisions’) with parish monsignors and at the same time had the ability to rally the community of the faithful. As a result, conflicts and divisions easily arose in the parishes where he lived. This was the reason for his frequent transfers. And when he was transferred to a new parish, the faithful often petitioned the Curia to keep him. It is difficult to imagine that they would have asked him to stay if acts of a pedophilic nature had taken place there and were known to them.

The first news of Fr. Surgent’s sexual abuse of boys while working in Kiczora, which belonged to the Milówka parish, came after two years of his stay there. At the end of June 1973, an anonymous letter on the matter reached the Curia in Cracow. An analysis of the file shows that Curia reacted immediately. The Curia, through the local monsignor, sent Father Surgent an order to appear in Cracow to explain the case. Fr. Surgent spoke to Bishop Pietraszko and Cardinal Wojtyła. He was immediately removed from the parish and left to the decision of the local bishop. In fact, Fr. Surgent was a priest of the Apostolic Administration of the Lviv Archdiocese in Lubaczów (the part of the former Lviv Archdiocese that remained within the borders of the Polish People’s Republic). Although he worked in the territory of the Archdiocese of Cracow, he was not formally incardinated to it but was under the jurisdiction of the present Apostolic Administrator in Lubaczów.

Cardinal Wojtyła did not have the authority to punish Father Surgent and bring him before an ecclesiastical tribunal. However, having learned of his lewd behavior and having spoken to him, he decided to remove him from the Archdiocese of Cracow and to hand him over to the Bishop of the Apostolic Administration in Lubaczów for decision.”

“It can be seen that the Curia did not cover up the matter, but acted immediately”

“At the same time, the secular authorities were informed of Fr. Surgent’s unworthy actions. The case was investigated by the SB at the district level in Żywiec and then by the SB’s Provincial Investigation Department (Pol: Wojewódzki Pion Sledczy) Surgent was arrested on August 24, 1973, and soon he was punished for his actions, tried and imprisoned. And as in the case of Fr. Loranc, in the course of analyzing the documents collected during the investigation by the State party, I did not come across any accusations against Cardinal Wojtyła or the Curia for reacting too late or inappropriately towards Father Surgent.

The files of the security apparatus show that the Cracow Curia investigated and questioned the boys in the parish house in Milówka on June  18-22, 1973. It can be seen that the Curia did not cover up the case, but acted immediately. We can see the quick reaction and the willingness to know and investigate the case. And the result of this investigation was the decision to immediately remove Fr. Surgent from the diocese and place him at the disposal of the bishop to whom he was subordinate.

The authors of the TV broadcast and the book refer to an undated document intercepted by the SB, in which the thesis is put forward that the Curia and Cardinal Wojtyła knew of Fr. Loranc’s abusive acts earlier and did not react properly. This document confiscated by the SB was not kept in Fr. Surgent’s file. We learn about it from an analysis of the operational material collected by the officers during the period when they were trying to get Fr. Surgent to cooperate, that is, at the end of 1969. From the contents of this intercepted document, it would appear that Bishop Jan Nowicki (of Lubaczów) condemned Fr. Surgent for the act he had committed against a minor boy. The boy’s mother was to report the case in writing to the Cracow Curia and to present it in person to Bishop Jan Pietraszko. The Vice-Chancellor and Bishop Julian Groblicki were also to be informed of the incident. It is not known what happened next, although the information must have reached Lubaczów from Cracow since the local bishop commented on the matter.

On the basis of this document, the SB drafted an anonymous letter, so as not to reveal the source of the original, and presented it to Fr. Surgent as so-called “compromising material.” It is likely, however, that this information was not – in colloquial terms – “hard information.” Yes, on this basis, Father Surgent indeed joined the collaboration, but already in April 1970, he broke it off, saying that it was not in accordance with his conscience, that he had considered the possible consequences, and that he did not feel guilty. One might therefore think that the material available to the SB was not so incriminating. This issue certainly requires further research and examination of the documents in the Church archives. On the other hand, the suggestion that the reason for Fr. Surgent’s transfer from parish to parish was because of his abuse of minors is not sufficiently supported by the SB documentation available to us.”

Fr. Lenart’s case: it is a weak presumption, and not a fact, that he abused minors. And in the light of the SB documents you have analyzed, what is Cardinal Wojtyła’s reaction to the actions of another protagonist of Overbeek’s book, Father Kazimierz Lenart?

“The story of Fr. Kazimierz Lenart does not appear in Gutowski’s report; it is referred to in Overbeek’s book. Overbeek formulates the accusations against the priest and Cardinal Wojtyła based on a letter written by parishioners in 1967, although there is no certainty that it reached the Cracow Curia. Nor is there any indication that this letter contained the kind of information suggested by Overbeek, which is discussed below.

Father Kazimierz Lenart was a young priest who, as the security apparatus put it, “liked the worldly life.” He often went to the cinema, rode a motorbike, liked music, and was a priest who was, in his own words, “progressive.” This met with a negative reception from some of the faithful in the Rajcza parish, especially older women. This was his first post, where he had worked since 1965. In October 1967 he had an accident on his motorbike and hit a pedestrian. However, he was not prosecuted because the pedestrian was under the influence of alcohol and had entered the roadway in a manner that was in violation of the law. At the end of 1967, in an effort to get Father Lenart to cooperate, an SB officer revisited the case.

In the course of the interview, when asked about his relationship with his parish priest and parishioners, Fr. Lenart informed the officer that an anonymous letter had allegedly been sent to the Curia by the local community of elderly women with whom he had fallen out with because of his secular lifestyle. He added that the letter had not arrived, which he had checked through his channels. In the memo, the official notes that based on this conversation, he concluded that Fr. Lenart was sincere both in talking about his way of life and in talking about the letter, and this is confirmed by the original letter addressed to the Curia by the inhabitants of Rajcza, which was seized by the SB as a result of an examination of mail correspondence. This means that the letter did not reach the Curia, as Fr. Surgent said. The letter was not kept in the SB files. It is known from an account given by an official. According to this description, it was only mentioned that Fr. Lenart often went to the cinema and that he was a modern-day priest. The officer does not mention anything about the fact that the parishioners complained about the priest’s ambiguous or immoral behavior on moral grounds. And that’s something to take note of.

Even the SB documents do not allow the accusation of sexual abuse.

“Meanwhile, Overbeek, describing this case, adds that in the letter the parishioners complain about Father Lenart because he “demoralizes the ladies.” This thesis is unauthorized. Also unauthorized is the suggestion that the reason for the transfer from the Rajcza parish to another post was the priest’s sexual behavior. Father Lenart had been in that parish for three years. And the transfer of a priest from his first parish after such a period of time is something completely normal and natural. There is nothing in the documentation gathered in the IPN to suggest that Fr. Lenart was being transferred for any other reason or because of any suspicion of sexual misconduct. Nor does it appear that Cardinal Wojtyła received information about Fr. Lenart’s indecent behavior.

The security services apparently gathered information in order to obtain compromising material and to induce Fr. Lenart to cooperate with them. There were also plans to write an anonymous letter. It was noted that Fr. Lenart was visited by adult women and female students. He often dismissed the boys after religious education and stayed with the girls for a few minutes. The priest himself said that he stayed with them in private to clarify certain issues related to male-female relationships. These issues are not explored and clarified by the officials and require further investigation.

As we can see, in the case of Fr. Lenart there is some information that reaches the SB through personal sources of information, which requires further verification. However, based on the material discussed, which is kept in the file of a candidate to become a secret collaborator, it is not possible to accuse Father Lenart of molesting anyone.”

Father Saduś was a homosexual, but it is not known whether he was a pedophile. And in the light of the sources, how should one read the case of Fr. Bolesław Saduś, who is presented in Marcin Gutowski’s report as the crowning proof that Cardinal Wojtyła protected pedophile priests by sending them abroad?

“This matter also requires further in-depth investigation. The SB documentation shows that Fr. Saduś was a homosexual and that there was some scandal in Cracow concerning his inclinations, but was it of a pedophile nature? This requires in-depth research. Based on an analysis of the SB documentation, it is abuse to say that Wojtyła knew that Fr. Saduś was harming children and that he sent him to Austria for this reason. The existing documentation does not authorize such a far-reaching thesis.

The accusations against Cardinal Wojtyła are based on a much later document. It was written seven years after Fr. Saduś went to Austria. It is a memo commissioned by Department IV of the Ministry of the Interior at the time of Wojtyła’s election as pope. At a time when they were looking for something to use against him.

And as proof that Wojtyła covered up Fr. Saduś’s behavior, editor Gutowski presents a document from the archives of the Vienna Archdiocese, which contains no information about the priest’s sins. But knowing the realities of the time, one cannot expect such a sensitive matter to be covered in an official letter. We know that Cardinal Wojtyła had an excellent relationship with the then Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal König, and the question can be asked whether such information was not passed on orally. And the fact that Fr. Saduś spoke German very well, but was not sent to Germany but to Austria, may indicate that he was put in charge of someone trusted by Cardinal Wojtyła. From the point of view of research in Austria, and interviews with witnesses, the question should also be asked: were there any reprehensible acts on the part of Fr. Saduś? So far we know nothing of the kind, nor are we aware of any sources that report that he committed acts in Austria that would prove any pedophile behavior on his part.

Gutowski’s report also accuses Cardinal Wojtyła of maintaining contact with Fr. Saduś when he was the pope, and even of having visited him in a parish in Austria. The fact that Wojtyła visited him in Austria in his capacity as Metropolitan of Cracow may also indicate that this was a kind of check to see if everything there was going well. Meanwhile, these contacts are presented as evidence of good relations that led to a cover-up of sexual abuse. This is an example of one-way thinking, rather than asking questions that seek to clarify the real reasons for this, rather than another, behavior. Only by looking at the files from different angles, asking different questions, and seeking answers, will we be able to see the truth more fully.”

Was Cardinal Sapieha guilty of sexual abuse? Let’s turn to the allegations against Cardinal Adam Sapieha that he had abused young priests and that Wojtyła, as a seminarian, had grown up in an atmosphere of secrecy surrounding such acts and that this would influence his later actions as a bishop and eventually as pope.

“This is an issue that was also raised in the report, that of Fr. Anatoly Boczek and his accusations against Cardinal Adam Sapieha. Historians are very cautious about these revelations. When analyzing these files, several aspects should be noted. Father Boczek has the reputation of being an unreliable priest. From 1947 to 1956 he secretly cooperated with the UB, while at the same time, he was an active “patriotic priest”, i.e., a clergyman deeply involved in cooperation with the communist authorities. At first, he was considered a valuable source of information by the UB, but later his qualification changed. This was due to his very weak position among the priests, as well as his many personal weaknesses and addictions.

As for his denunciation of Cardinal Adam Sapieha, in which he accuses the hierarch of harassment and even sexual violence, it is important to note the historical context. Fr. Boczek does not report on Cardinal Sapieha’s alleged homosexual behavior either before 1950 or after 1950. The information he provides appears in July and September 1950, and in it, he refers to the Cardinal’s behavior as having occurred in February or March of that year. It is important to consider the context of this denunciation. On March 22, 1950, Father Boczek took part in a meeting of “patriotic priests” in Warsaw, where he made a pro-Communist speech. He had already been castigated by Cardinal Sapieha for his activities within the movement of priests sympathetic to the authorities, but his speech in March 1950 at the Warsaw Congress was the final straw. Immediately upon the priest’s return from Warsaw, on March 29th, Cardinal Sapieha summoned him, suspended him, and ordered him to go into retreat with the Redemptorist priests.

The allegations against Cardinal Sapieha emerge as he suspends the accused priest

It is noteworthy that Fr. Boczek’s accusations against Cardinal Sapieha appear precisely at this time of strained relations and direct conflict. Moreover, this is the time when talks are taking place on the Church-State Agreement, which Cardinal Sapieha strongly opposed. And certainly, the SB would have tried to obtain information that would compromise him. This is an issue that needs further investigation, but the circumstances must be taken into account.

In order to lend credence to Fr. Boczek’s reports, Gutowski quoted Fr. Mistat’s testimony dated August 10, 1949, the day the priest was arrested in the espionage case that preceded the so-called ‘Cracow Curia Trial’ in 1953. However, this testimony is missing from the investigation file against Father Mistat. And here it should be noted that the original of the document of August 10, 1949, has not yet been found and is known only in an uncertified copy version, as a report of the interrogation of a witness. However, there is no indication that in 1949 there was a trial case against Cardinal Sapieha in which Fr. Mistat could have been questioned as a witness. As for the phrases allegedly used by Fr. Mistat, they are very similar to those in Fr. Boczek’s reports. All this raises serious questions. It is also important to note the person who linked the two documents, namely the UB officer Krzysztof Srokowski. He is listed as having interrogated the witness, Fr. Mistat, in 1949, and a year later accepted a denunciation from an informer with the pseudonym “Luty,” i.e. – Fr. Boczek. Srokowski did not pursue the case of Father Mistat. His name appears in Sapieha’s file only as a person who assisted (witnessed) the search.

 The arrested officer and the documents on Cardinal Sapieha

Both documents, i.e., Fr. Boczek’s denunciation and a copy of Fr. Mistat’s testimony, were sent to Warsaw in September 1950 as so-called “compromising materials” on Cardinal Sapieha. However, we find no information that they were used by the central security apparatus. The denunciation of Fr. Boczek was accompanied by a note stating that the information contained therein should be verified. The question arises: did the UB verify it negatively, or did it only have doubts? This too requires further research.

And if we try to trace the earlier and later fate of officer Srokowski, further questions arise. In June 1950, a request was made to transfer Srokowski out of the Cracow area on the grounds that he had “compromised his position of authority by improper treatment of the agent (he went drinking in a restaurant with an informant priest).” At the time, this transfer probably did not take place, but he was on leave for almost a month. In 1951, however, he was transferred or promoted to a post in Poznań as deputy head of Department V of the Security Office. Within this department was a cell dedicated to the surveillance of priests. In this position, Srokowski abused alcohol and committed fraud. He was accused of embezzling funds, falsifying receipts, being drunk, and fighting with threatening weapons. He was eventually arrested, expelled from the UB, tried, and sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Military District Court in Poznań.

And before that, when the case of his behavior and fraud broke out, he left his place of work arbitrarily and was found and arrested in Zakopane. In Fr. Boczek’s file, on the other hand, we find a note that Srokowski’s wife appeared before him and introduced herself, saying that she was the wife of Krzysztof Srokowski, whose arrest the priest had witnessed in Gubałówka. Srokowski’s file also confirms that, after his escape from Poznań, he visited the informer known as ‘Luty’ (Father Boczek) and they drank vodka together at Gubałówka. This trust that Srokowski had in Fr. Boczek is another avenue for further research and an attempt to clarify the highly complicated case of Cardinal Sapieha’s accusations.”

Were there other priest-pedophiles in the Archdiocese of Cracow during Wojtyła’s time? Is there material in the IPN’s sources about other priests in the Cracow archdiocese from that period who molested minors?

“In my research so far I have not found any documents on this subject. I don’t have any such knowledge, but I don’t rule out the possibility that such testimonies might emerge from the analysis of further materials. On the other hand, there are other moral matters, but they do not concern the abuse of minors by priests, but rather contacts with women.”

Are you going to study the archives of the Cracow Curia? What other steps need to be taken to fully explain and evaluate Cardinal Wojtyła’s actions in this area? What can the Church’s archives tell us? To what extent can the personal files of priests in the Church archives help us in our research?

“It will be necessary to search the Church archives, not only the personal files of priests but also the files of proceedings before ecclesiastical tribunals and administrative files. It will also be necessary to make use of other documents of state origin, such as those of the Office for Religious Affairs. Some information came directly from the party and should be sought there, at the level of both the central and regional committees of the PZPR. (the communist Polish United Workers Party-JCz).  The accounts of direct witnesses can also be an important source. Of course, like any other source, it must be verified and critically evaluated.”

What else should be done?

“It is also important that research into pedophilia in the communist era should not be limited to the church environment. This is a problem that affected not only this environment but also such as schools, daycare centers, educational institutions, youth organizations, and others. In order to get a comprehensive picture of the problem of pedophilia during the communist period, it would be necessary to conduct a comprehensive study of the extent and attitudes towards this phenomenon. This research should be interdisciplinary. Historians are needed, as well as sociologists, psychologists, and lawyers. Questions about the social consciousness of the time need to be answered, such as how psychology or medicine dealt with the problem at the time.

Sexual crimes against minors and their reactions to them at the time cannot be judged from today’s point of view. It is necessary to take into account the level of awareness of the effects of pedophile behavior on its victims. The penalties imposed for these crimes were not severe. This shows that there was no awareness of its enormous harmfulness and profound effects on the psyche. Therefore, these investigations should be comprehensive. They are necessary in order to draw appropriate conclusions, also with regard to the Church’s actions in facing this phenomenon.”

IPN reacts to TVN’s attack on JPII!


This article first appeared in the Polish language in Deon.pl here: https://deon.pl/kosciol/wreszcie-jest-rzetelna-odpowiedz-na-pytanie-czy-wojtyla-tuszowal-pedofilie-historyk-z-ipn-podaje-nieznane-dotad-fakty,2455925

See also:  https://republikapolonia.pl/2023/03/11/potepiamy-nieetyczny-atak-tvn24-na-papieza-polaka/


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