Catholic Church is in a tight spot, but Poles still cling faithfully to it

Catholic Church is in a tight spot, but Poles still cling faithfully to it May 28, 2019

THERE are two things that the Catholic Church is pretty good at: blaming victims for the abuse they suffered at the hands of priests, and treating the abusers as if they are somehow the ones being persecuted.

Poland is a particularly egregious example.

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Polish-American journalist Filip Mazurczak, above, a doctoral student in history at Kraków’s Jagiellonian University, said after the recent release of a documentary film entitled Tell No One, which has had over almost 22 million views and more than  71,000 comments on YouTube:

For years, whenever the topic of priestly sexual abuse came up in the Polish media …  the Polish bishops responded by saying something along the lines that sexual abuse is a problem in many milieus, not only among the Catholic Church.

Many Catholic bishops – and many priests and rank-and-file lay Catholics as well – felt that they were being unfairly attacked.

Mazurczak pointed out that when the Church addressed the question of abuse in March of this year, Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków made a particularly terrible error when he asked for mercy for the abusers. The student called his appeal a “disaster.”

According to this report,  the Church and its priests enjoy a revered status and wields “serious influence” in Poland, where more than 90 percent of the country’s population is registered as Catholic.

It has long held powerful ties to politics; together with the late Polish Pope John Paul II, it is widely hailed for its opposition to the Communist regime that collapsed in 1989.

Marcin Zaborowski, political analyst at Visegrad Insight said  Church has been “fundamental” to Polish society.

The Church is part and parcel of Polish politics. The current government will find it difficult to distance itself from the Catholic Church.

Only a week before the film was released earlier this month, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative ruling Law and Justice Party, said:

Anyone who raises his hand against the Church, wants to destroy it, raises his hand against Poland.

After seeing the documentary, he clarified his remarks at a rally, saying:

That does not mean that we support or tolerate pathology in the Church.

After the documentary – in which an elderly retired priest tells a victim he abused that the “Devil made him do it” – was released, Polish bishops issued a grovelling apology for not doing more to prevent abuse. In a statement they said:

We admit that as shepherds of the Church we have not done everything to prevent these harms. For many believers, especially for young people sincerely seeking God, sexual scandals involving clergy become a hard test of faith and a reason for great scandal.

Disappointment and indignation are all the bigger and more painful that children, instead of caring love and accompaniment in seeking the nearness of Jesus, experienced violence and brutal [diminishment] of the dignity of the child.

Within hours of seeing the film the Polish primate and Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Polak, above, released a filmed apology.

I am deeply disturbed by what I saw in Mr. Tomasz Sekielski’s film …  Thank you to everyone who had the courage to tell of their suffering.  I apologise for every wound caused by people in the Church.

The head of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, was similarly humble in his response to the film. After thanking the director, he apologised to victims for all the Polish bishops:

On behalf of the entire Episcopate Conference, I would like to apologise most deeply to all those who were hurt. I realize that nothing can compensate them for the wrongs they have suffered.

Gądecki predicted that the film would:

Contribute to an even more severe condemnation of pedophilia, for which there can be no place in the Church.

Yeah, yeah, but will the documentary wake Poles up to the fact that they have a canker in their midst that need eliminating, just as Ireland has succeeded in doing?

Sadly it would appear no.

The history student Mazurczak said that after Tell No One was released on YouTube, it was the most talked about subject in the Polish media. However, as far as he and his friends could tell, it made no negative impact on Church attendance the following Sunday.

I was nervous when going to Mass because I knew about how sexual abuse had emptied parishes in Ireland during the 1990s. When I went to Mass at the Franciscan church, attendance was the same as it always is. My friends I’ve talked to told me the same thing: when they went to Mass, attendance was more or less the same as always. Nobody saw a major decline.

Sunday evening, I coincidentally stumbled upon the Vincentian church near the technical university. It was almost eight o’clock, and the Mass for university students was starting. I peeked into the church; it was bursting at the seams with young people, and more people kept filing in as I was leaving.

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  • Alan Crowe

    Stockholm syndrome?

  • epeeist

    the Polish bishops responded by saying something along the lines that sexual abuse is a problem in many milieus, not only among the Catholic Church.

    Tu quoque is all they have got.

    My friends I’ve talked to told me the same thing: when they went to Mass, attendance was more or less the same as always. Nobody saw a major decline.

    And yet, Polish Radio reports that there is a significant drop.

  • adhoc

    So basically all these archbishops and leaders were apologizing for the things happening right under their noses … like they had not noticed?

    Well, I’m not buying it. If they didn’t notice, which I cannot believe, they should be removed because they failed miserably. If they did know, which is highly likely, they should be punished according to the law.

  • Jim Jones

    There must be something in the Polish psyche that makes them suckers for this bullshit.

    Has The God Delusion been translated into Polish?

    Edit: Yes.

    Here are the 33 languages into which The God Delusion has been translated. You’ll see that Hindi, Telugu and Tamil are among them, but not, as far as I’m aware (please correct me if I am wrong) Urdu or Bengali.

    Italian, Hungarian, German, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Croatian, Czech, Chinese, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bahasa Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sovenian, Spanish, Greek, Swedish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic (unofficial translation).

    — From Richard Dawkins .net

  • Freethinker

    What they really need is Hitch’s “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”. Unfortunately it’s been published in Poland by a tiny garage style publisher with no marketing push behind it.

  • rubaxter

    I’d imagine the recent history of the Catholic Church as an organization of rebellion against Soviet domination has bought a lot of good will for at least another generation, until the people who have no memory of that are left to pass compulsory reverence to that corrupting organization on to their children.

    Same with the people in the country and the like and the atavistic Nationalist party.

    Perhaps the Net Taker status of Poland vs. EU also makes people happy to keep on the side of Authority to keep their subsidies rolling in?

    And, lets not forget, the more progressive and adventurous Poles aren’t necessarily working IN Poland, either, given EU border policies (e.g., Polish Plumber Brexit Issue).

  • WallofSleep
  • WallofSleep

    “… the Polish bishops responded by saying something along the lines that sexual abuse is a problem in many milieus, not only among the Catholic Church.”

    Yet the massive cover ups, moving around of pedo-priests to avoid the law, enabling of said pedo-priests, and the moving of funds to avoid compensating victims, all which has been endemic within the RCC for generations, is not a problem in many milieus. That problem is the Church’s alone.

  • Sau Peih

    More Poles living in the UK than living Warsaw. This suggests a least a million of them prefer not to live in a Catholic country.

  • Sau Peih

    And when Nazis were fleeing Germany, the RCC was there to help them (along with the IRC).

  • Norman Parron

    Just heard about the xtian sorry-ass-law passed in Poland sending a women to jail for 2yrs just cuz some dumb assed xtians got their panties in a twist! The blasphemy laws of Poland have now shown the world that their is NO polock joke that can make them look any more st00pid!! And then this post hee shows it again!

  • Stephen Mynett

    Sau Peih, you have an interesting point there. Two of my Polish friends have said they will never go back, despite some of the quite nasty stuff going on from the Brexiteers. Both are atheist but are also Jewish and anti-semitism had been rife in Poland for as long as they could remember. One said that his local priest would just about, albeit grudgingly, accept an atheist but a Jew, no effing chance.

  • rubaxter

    One step from Pakistan, the Left-Behind Country of Poland.

    If they want soooo much to be just like Putin’s Russia, why all the bitchin’ and whinin’ whenever you ask them about their history of downright luser-dumb in matters like that?

  • Broga

    While staying with friends, and as dinner with another group had to be postponed, we were asked if we had seen the film SPOTLIGHT and would we like to watch it that evening. I had not seen it so the suggestion was made that we watch it. I wasn’t keen but asked what it was about. The answer was, “It is a true story about a major criminal organisation which has enormous power, and tentacles which reach into the law, politics and the media.”

    I still didn’t want to watch – nor did my wife – on the grounds that I had already seen “The Godfather” and neither of us was likely to be interested in. another film about crime. The response was intriguing, “Knowing your opinions I think you will want to see thus film. Believe me. It is a bit special.”

    That was an understatement. And I am sure many on this site have already seen the film. If you have not then, like us, you have missed something special. The film is about the child sexual abuse in the Boston Area and its revelation by the Boston Globe. If you are watching it for the first time get ready to cringe. I knew about Cardinal Law and his transfer to high office in the Vatican. I was left (a) wondering how they managed to get it made; and (b) why is RC criminal organisation still functioning.

  • l.o.o.m.

    LOL….Where is Hitch now??…He is dead…. Even Nietzche claim that God is Dead….where is Nietzche??….DEAD… LOL…the same thing will happen to the book of God Delusion…all will come and go….yet the 2000 years Catholic institution will move forward….LOL

  • Freethinker

    Your support of the world’s largest criminal empire is noted. Do you also enjoy fucking children like the official clergy of the Catholic Church you troll for, or just wish you could without impunity?

  • l.o.o.m.

    ??…Public schools are actually worse when it comes to pedo crime….and Yes…Some so called Free Thinkers and Atheists are actually promoting Pedo psychology…some of them even claim that being Pedo is normal….I just watched it In Ted X….LOL…..