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Sunday, June 29, 2014

How not to inspire confidence

Jozef Wesolowski, former Vatican nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Archbisop of of Kraków, has been defrocked ....

[...] he former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, accused of having sexually abused boys in Santo Domingo, has been defrocked by a Vatican tribunal, Catholic Church officials here said Friday .... The move follows accusations that the Vatican, which recalled him to Rome last year, was protecting an abuser from arrest by civil authorities. In its statement Friday the Vatican said that Wesolowski had two months to appeal and that a criminal trial would follow the confirmation of his defrocking. News reports in Italy said that Wesolowski had been seen visiting Rome restaurants for lunch recently and the Vatican said his movements had not been restricted while his case was being heard. Now, it said, “all measures appropriate to the seriousness of the case will be adopted.” ....

“It's encouraging when child molesting clerics are disciplined, but we are troubled by the Vatican's continued insistence on handling child sex crimes internally,” the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said Friday in a statement. “Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski should face a criminal trial, not a church proceeding. And he should be in a secular jail. And he might have been in one for months, had Vatican officials cooperated with law enforcement,” the group said. Police in the Dominican Republic have opened a investigation of the allegations, as have Polish authorities.


Perhaps the Vatican finally took action in part because in January the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and in May the UN Torture Committee exhorted the Vatican to prosecute Wesolowski. In 2013, the Vatican denied Wesolowski was recalled due to sex abuse allegations. He was wanted by the civil authorities in Poland for crimes possibly committed there but last January the Vatican refused to cooperate ... ... Vatican to Polish prosecutor: we don't extradite.

Disingenuous that the Vatican averred to the UN that the Holy See has no jurisdiction over priests in other countries and that those priests should be prosecuted by local authorities, and yet the Vatican recalled Wesolowski, a Polish national with a post in the Dominican Republic, to investigate and prosecute him in Vatican City. And strange too the Vatican assertion that Wesolowski has full diplomatic immunity from prosecution in both the Dominican Republic and Poland .... he wasn't a diplomat to Poland. Also the Vatican failed to note that it could waive immunity and the ban on extradition if it wanted to. If the Vatican is trying to inspire confidence in its response to clergy sex abuse, it had better try harder.

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