The Bishops expressed their sadness at the suffering of people who were harmed by some clergymen, apologizing to everyone who has been affected by this sin and at the same time a crime – said the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, summing up the session of the Permanent Council of the Polish Episcopate, which took place on May 22 in Warsaw. The meeting was devoted to the subject of further Church activities in Poland regarding the protection of minors.
“These matters call for avoidance of any negligence and even greater sensitivity to help the victims,” emphasized the President of the Episcopate.
During the session, the Permanent Council of the Episcopate adopted the text of the Bishops’ Word to the faithful entitled “Sensitivity and responsibility”. “In this Word, the members of the Council refer both to the suffering of the victims and to the effective way to remedy the existing practice of treating these matters. They emphasized the need to report the harm suffered to the relevant state organs, and underlined the role of diocesan delegates authorized to receive reports on the sexual abuse of minors,” said Archbishop Gądecki.
In addition, members of the Council received with gratitude the Motu Proprio of Pope Francis. The bishops also appreciated the activities of the Child Protection Center and guidelines prepared in dioceses and religious congregations regarding prevention. “They appreciated the work of the vast majority of priests who zealously and generously serve God and people. The Bishops warned against transferring the guilt of particular clerics to all priests,” emphasized the President of the Episcopate.
The Permanent Council also commissioned the creation of the Office of the Delegate for the Protection of Children and Youth at the Polish Bishops’ Conference, while the Delegate for the Protection of Children and Youth, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, presented a plan of systemic response to the current situation. It will concern, among others, assistance to victims, prevention, legal aspects, and communication.
In the afternoon, the meeting of all metropolitan bishops was held, and it was devoted to the presentation of the new Motu Proprio by Pope Francis and a commentary on it. “Metropolitans thanked Pope Francis for the clarity and consistency and acceleration of the process of explaining all difficult issues,” summed up the President of the Episcopate.