Release from the Polish Bishops' Conference: The Polish Bishops’ Conference: Zero Tolerance for the Crimes of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy We publish data on the activities of the Church in Poland concerning the prevention of sexual exploitation of minors by members of the clergy. These include assistance to victims, prosecution of perpetrators and development of prevention programs. The Catholic Church is the most advanced institution in this field in our country.
Guidelines of the Polish Bishops’ Conference – zero tolerance procedure
“The Church recognizes sexual abuse as grave sins, demanding an unambiguous and disciplinary response towards those who have been proven to have committed such acts. They call for the healing work of penance, both by the perpetrator and the entire Church community and for the reparation of the harm done to the victim and the community. No effort should be spared to make sure that similar situations do not occur in the future,” read the Guidelines, which further establish detailed rules of conduct, in accordance with the stringent strategy adopted by the universal Church and carried out under the supervision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (former Holy Office) of the Holy See.
In June 2017, the Guidelines of the Bishops’ Conference were adjusted to the amendments to the Polish Penal Code, which impose an obligation to report each case of such an offence to state law enforcement agencies.
Assistance to victims as a priority
Church superiors (diocesan bishops or superiors of religious provinces) are obliged to provide spiritual and psychological assistance to the victim and, if necessary, provide legal advice and ensure a sense of security upon receipt of information about the sexual abuse of a minor. They are also obliged to take actions aimed at preventing the perpetrator from continuing the crime and to work towards restoring trust and a proper climate for the continuation of pastoral work in the ecclesiastical community.
Coordinator of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and diocesan and religious delegates for the protection of children and young people
Child Protection Centre
The study program is intended to provide the staff of educational and care facilities run by dioceses and religious provinces with appropriate qualifications and competencies to build an environment that is safe for children and young people.
The bishops also adopted a separate document on the principles of prevention against cases of sexual exploitation of minors that may occur in the Church. The document was adopted during the 365th Plenary Assembly of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, convened on 10–11 June 2014.Prevention systems in dioceses and religious orders
Prevention and action at the stage of priestly formation
Procedures for the prosecution of suspects
At a later stage, an ecclesiastical court is established which, if the offence is proven, decides on the type and level of punishment of the priest or religious.
Therefore, a clergyman who has committed an offence of sexual abuse against a minor under the age of 15 is subject to a double sanction, one imposed by Canon Law and the other by state law. Church regulations are more restrictive than state regulations. Protection covers not only persons up to the age of 15, as in state law, but also persons under the age of 18.
The Church in Poland apologises
Meetings the victims
Penance liturgies for the sins of sexual exploitation
Full Text Source: Bishops' Conference of Poland - Ekai.pl