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Poland: Parliament defends John Paul II name

March 10, 2023

A heated debate in Poland's parliament about the late pope John Paul's II legacy culminated in the house passing a resolution defending his name.

Vergewaltigungsvorwurf gegen "Speckpater" Werenfried van Straaten
Image: BELGA/imago images

Poland's parliament has passed a resolve defending the name of the late Polish pope John Paul II.

The move comes after a newly published book stated that he late pontiff intentionally covered up church paedophilia scandals when he was archbishop of Krakow.

What are the allegations?

Aired on TVN24 an American privately owned channel in Poland, an explosive documentary alleges that the late pontiff transferred three priests accused of child abuse during his tenure as archbishop of Krakow.

The allegations have started fierce debates across one of Europe's most devoted Roman Catholic nations.

The report names three priests whom John Paul allegedly moved around in the 1970s after accusations of child abuse.

Archbishop Karol Wojtyla who was the head of the church in Krakow Southern Poland would later become pope John Paul II.

The debate comes amidst the Polish Catholic's church evaluates its own record of clergy sexual abuse.

Strong defense

Government figures including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have strongly defended the late pontiff as a national hero and the country's highest moral authority.

Legislators from the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) proposed a resolution defending his name which was passed by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, majorly by votes of PiS lawmakers.

"The Sejm…strongly condemns the shameful media campaign, based largely on the materials of the Communist apparatus of violence, whose object the Great Pope — Saint John Paul II, the greatest Pole in history," the resolution partly reads.

"We will not allow the image of a man whom the whole free world recognizes as a pillar of victory over the Evil Empire to be destroyed," it continued.

Most religious conservatives denounce what they view as a left-wing plot to discredit a figure at the core of Poland's identity.

Polish Bishop's Conference head, Archbishop of Poznan Stanislaw Gadecki, called on "all people of good will not to destroy the common good, and the legacy of John Paul II undoubtedly belongs to this."

In his statement he further wrote that, "Poles should remember about the blessing that Providence gave us through this Pope."

On the other hand, Leftist politicians called for John Paul's name to be taken off streets and school names due to the allegations.

Born in the southern town of WadowiceArchbishop Karol Wojtyla served Krakow from 1964 to 1978, when he became pontiff. He died in 2005 and was declared  a saint in 2014.

dmn/rc (Reuters,AP)