He is officially a saint for the Catholic Church. But retrospectively, more and more criticism is being voiced against the former Pope John Paul II. Among other things, he is said to have known about the pedophile tendencies of a clergyman and nevertheless promoted them.
The Catholic Church in Poland has responded to new allegations against the canonized Pope John Paul II that he was aware of abuse cases when he was Archbishop of Kraków. Determining his role and a fair assessment of his decisions and actions require further archival research, said the Bishops' Conference coordinator for the protection of children and young people, the Jesuit Adam Zak.
"Today we undoubtedly have a much greater societal awareness of the effects of sexual abuse," the statement said. The Church has developed procedures and ways to respond and help. The Pole Karol Wojtyla was Pope John Paul II for more than 26 years - from 1978 until his death in 2005 - at the head of the Catholic Church.
The new debate was triggered by a television report by journalist Marcin Gutowski, which ran on Monday evening in the series "Schwarz auf Weiß" on TVN24. In it, Wojtyla is accused of having known about allegations of abuse against priests with pedophilic tendencies long before he was elected Pope. Gutowski spoke to victims of the priests and other contemporary witnesses, among others.
Even the beatification of the former pope was heavily criticized: Norbert Denef, who was himself affected by sexual violence, said: "Not only for me personally, but for many victims worldwide who, as girls and boys, were abused during the tenure of Pope John Paul II this beatification is salt in their deep, still fresh wounds". Pope John Paul II is also said to have enabled the theologian Theodore Edgar McCarrick to rise to the rank of cardinal, although allegations of sexual abuse against him were already known.
Poland is strongly Catholic. According to estimates, almost 33 million people belong to the church - that is more than 85 percent of the population.