Prosecutor sees no grounds for investigation of negligence claims against Polish cardinal

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, pictured in Rome April 25, 2014. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.

A prosecutor in Poland indicated on Thursday that he saw no grounds for an investigation into allegations that Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz failed to report claims of clerical abuse.

The 81-year-old cardinal served as an aide to John Paul II until the Polish pope’s death in 2005. He was then appointed archbishop of Kraków, retiring in 2016.

A spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków told Polish media on 21 January that the prosecutor had decided that there was no basis for an investigation after assessing a report submitted by Łukasz Kohut, a member of the European Parliament.

Kohut contacted the prosecutor’s office following the broadcast in November of the program “Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” shown on TVN24, a Polish commercial news channel.

The 82-minute program, presented by journalist Marcin Gutowski, accused the former personal secretary of St. John Paul II of failing to investigate clerical abuse claims while serving both in Rome and Poland. 

Kohut, a member of Poland’s left-wing Wiosna (Spring) party, said in a 21 January statement that he would lodge a complaint against the prosecutor’s decision.

Following the broadcast of the television program in November, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference called for the Vatican to address the claims against Dziwisz.

In a 10 November statement, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki said: “In reference to yesterday’s TVN24 report entitled ‘Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,’ in which Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz is accused of neglecting to investigate cases of sexual abuse by clergy, I hope that any doubts presented in this report will be clarified by the relevant commission of the Holy See.”

“At the same time, I would like to note that the Church in Poland is grateful to the cardinal for his many years of service at the side of St. John Paul II.”

Dziwisz has also said that he would like to see the allegations clarified.

“It is not about whitewashing or hiding possible negligence, but about honestly presenting the facts,” he said in a 9 November statement. “The victims’ welfare is of paramount importance. Children and young people can never again suffer in the Church the wrongs that took place in the past.”

“I am ready to fully cooperate with an independent commission that will clarify these issues.” 

Source: CNA