Posts Tagged Jozef Wesolowski
While Pope Francis is wowing vast crowds on a triumphant homecoming to Latin America this week (July 7), one of the pivotal moments of his papacy is set to begin back in Rome on Saturday with the opening of a criminal trial for former papal diplomat Józef Wesołowski on charges of sexual abuse of minors.
“Ultimately, it’s the threat of criminal sanctions from Vatican tribunals that underlies new accountability measures Francis has created to face the two most chronic sources of scandal he inherited when he was elected in March 2013 – sexual abuse and financial misconduct.
“The Wesołowski trial is the first major test of that criminal justice system under Francis. And it will have a great deal to say about whether this pontiff’s celebrated vow that there will be no ‘daddy’s boys’ on his watch, meaning clerics able to remain above the law, actually has teeth.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful Statement, June 15, 2015
The Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful hopes the resignation today of St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt signals the Church is continuing to turn the corner on holding bishops accountable for covering up clergy sexual abuse.
His resignation comes just 10 days after St. Paul-Minneapolis prosecutors brought criminal charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children; five days after Pope Francis set up a Vatican tribunal to judge allegations against bishops involved in the clergy sexual abuse; less than two months after the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, who was convicted of covering up abuse; and the same day the Vatican announced former papal nuncio Jozef Wesolowski would stand trial at the Vatican for sexual abuse of children.
Pope Francis already has accepted Nienstedt’s resignation and the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche and appointed another archbishop there to administer the diocese.
VOTF has long called for accountability for bishops who have covered up abuse, and for Nienstedt in particular, given longstanding revelations of his mishandling local clergy sexual abuse.
We only wish Nienstedt would have admitted his wrongdoing instead of standing by his previous actions, but his resignation no doubt is for the good of the Church and the faithful of his diocese, which he said in his statement was the reason for his resignation.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
“However it ends, the case will be followed as an indicator of Pope Francis’s commitment to true church reform.”
Roman Catholics and much of the world have been closely watching for evidence that Pope Francis has the wherewithal to buck the resistance to reform from the Vatican’s powerful bureaucracy.
“An encouraging sign emerged last week with the announcement that the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic had been stripped of diplomatic immunity and could be tried there for his alleged soliciting of underage boys for sexual acts. The announcement reversed a devious and secret stratagem engineered by unidentified Vatican officials last year to recall the ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, before Dominican authorities could bring criminal charges of child abuse against him.”
Editorial in The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who has been accused of paying underage boys there to engage in sexual acts, has lost his diplomatic immunity and could ultimately face prosecution in criminal courts outside of the Vatican, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church announced on Monday (Aug. 25).
“The former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, has already been defrocked by the Vatican, the harshest penalty under the church’s canon law short of excommunication. Beyond that, the Vatican has also said that it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time it will hold a criminal trial for sexual abuse.
“But the Vatican has also caused an uproar in the Dominican Republic because it abruptly recalled Mr. Wesolowski last year before he could face a criminal inquiry and possible prosecution there. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome, and then invoked diplomatic immunity …
“The announcement on Monday came a day after a New York Times article detailed the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski and the Vatican’s handling of the case. In the Vatican’s statement on Monday, the church said that it took the proper steps to make sure that the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski were dealt with seriously.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“… Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.”
He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.
“The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him ‘the Italian because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.
“It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
“’He definitely seduced me with money,’ said Francis Aquino Aneury, who says he was 14 when the man he met shining shoes began offering him increasingly larger sums for sexual acts. ‘I felt very bad. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I needed the money.’
“The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors …
“… Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.
“The Vatican’s handling of the case shows both the changes the church has made in dealing with sexual abuse, and what many critics call its failures. When it comes to removing pedophiles from the priesthood, the Vatican is moving more assertively and swiftly than before. But as Mr. Wesolowski’s case suggests, the church continues to be reluctant to report people suspected of abuse to the local authorities and allow them to face justice in secular courts …
“The people used to say, ‘I want my child to go to a Catholic church,’ said the Rev. Rogelio Cruz, a Catholic priest in Santo Domingo. ‘Now they say, ‘No child of mine is ever going to a Catholic church.’”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest, “A familiar figure on the Santo Domingo waterfront,” by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times.
Voice of the Faithful® hopes the Vatican’s laicization of former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski signals a new, uncompromising commitment to holding hierarchy involved in sexual abuse of minors accountable for their actions. The move seems to demonstrate Pope Francis’ resolve in promoting “zero tolerance” for clergy sexual abuse.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered the laicization of an archbishop-ambassador accused of paying for sex with minors.
“Józef Wesołowski, former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, will have two months to prepare an appeal to the ruling, which was announced in a brief statement from the Vatican on Friday (June 27).
“The former nuncio, who the Vatican did not refer to as an archbishop in the statement, was removed from his post in August with little explanation. News accounts days afterward detailed allegations of paying for sex with minors and being connected to a Polish priest accused of sexually assaulting at least 14 underage boys.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest, “Vatican Defrocks Dominican Envoy Accused of Abuse,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times. Click here to read the story.
A bishop from the Dominican Republic has reported that he was shocked to see a former papal nuncio, who is under investigation on sex-abuse charges, walking freely around the center of Rome.
“Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who had been the Vatican’s representative in the Dominican Republic, was recalled to Rome last year. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic have said that they have convincing evidence that the prelate molested young men there; he has also been accused of abuse in his native Poland.”
By CatholicCulture.org — Click here to read the rest of this story.