By Christopher Wells
In a letter to be read in churches throughout the country this coming weekend, Poland’s Bishops admit that “as shepherds of the Church, we did not do everything to prevent harm.”
“There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals involving priests”, the Bishops say. “They are a cause of great scandal and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the perpetrators, and for those who conceal such acts.”
The Permanent Council for the Polish Bishops’ Conference was convened this week by the President of the Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki in response to recent public revelations of the extent of abuse and cover-up in the Polish Church.
The main goal of the Bishops, according to Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, “is to review the effectiveness of procedures as soon as possible, so that the shortcomings that have appeared… may be amended.” Archbishop Polak, who is also the Delegate for the Protection of Minors and Young People for the Polish episcopate, said the Bishops intend to establish a working group to assist in the implementation of the procedures concerning abuse cases, which were mandated by Pope Francis in the motu proprio Vos estis earlier this month.
In their letter to the faithful, Poland’s Bishops acknowledge that the recent revelations about abuse in their country have tried the faith of many people, and have caused great scandal. “Together with all people of good will,” they say, “we unite our efforts to identify and eliminate the factors that contribute to this crime.”
The Bishops conclude their letter by entrusting all those who have been harmed to the “power of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church” and praying for “the spirit of humility and courage, so as not to be overcome by evil; but rather to care for all.”