TV Documentary Alleges Pope Saint John Paul Covered Up Pedophilia in the Polish Church


One of the most seminal figures of the 20th century and a Polish icon, Pope Saint John Paul II, had knowledge of pedophilia and sexual assault in the Polish Catholic church, according to a documentary broadcast on independent TV station TVN.

Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected pope in 1978 — the first non-Italian pope elected in 5 centuries. Until his death in 2005, John Paul II was not only a consequential religious leader, leading the Catholic Church through revolutionary times, but he was also a political force that helped bring down the Soviet empire.

“Millions of people came out to see him and his message gave them hope that they could overcome the kind of authoritarian dictatorship that existed in Poland at the time,” Lazarski University professor and historian Christopher Lash told Euronews. “He’s seen as a national hero who led Poland out of communism and into becoming a free, democratic country.”

John Paul was a culture warrior who stood athwart the forces of modernity, making enemies of the left who portrayed his anti-abortion, pro-family agenda as “hateful.” He was made a saint of the church in 2014.

The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has characterized the documentary as an attack on Polish identity. The PiS is closely tied to the Catholic Church and in order to gain power, the secular forces must first destroy the church — including Saint John Paul.

Poland is in cultural upheaval, with conservative forces passing strict anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ legislation and pressure to reverse those measures dividing the nation along religious-secular lines.

There’s more to it than that, of course. But tearing down Saint John Paul is vital to secular parties who need to sully his reputation to advance their cause.

Attempts to discredit the documentary and the journalist involved in its conception are also seen as a continuation of the crackdown on independent media in the country.

In 2021, Reporters without Borders declared “a press freedom state of emergency” in the country when amendments to the broadcasting law were introduced which specifically targeted TVN and threatened to suspend their license.

The channel is a subsidiary of Warner Bros Discovery, an American company. Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a condemnation of the documentary and summoned the US ambassador to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, for talks in response to the documentary.

“They want to show that they are strong enough to demand that the US ambassador talks to them, and to explain to him what TVN is doing. We [PiS] are a strong party, we’re not even afraid of the Americans,” explains Gdula.

“The ruling party adheres to sort of a sovereigntist position, one where Poland stands up for itself and is skeptical of outside forces trying to weaken Poland’s interests,” concludes Lash.

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Polish identity is so closely tied to the Church largely because it fiercely resisted Communism and prevented the Soviet Union from destroying Polish sovereignty. That still matters 40 years after Saint John Paul’s plane touched down in Poland and millions of Poles greeted him as pontiff.

On Thursday, PiS, who have a majority in the Polish Sejm, adopted a resolution defending “the good name of Saint John Paul II” and condemned the “disgraceful media campaign.” They came to the parliament vote holding pictures of the late pope.

PiS have a long-standing practice of latching onto sensitive issues or those that carry a particular emotional significance for the Polish public ahead of elections, which are slated for November of this year.

As the leader of the Warsaw archdiocese in the 1970s, Saint John Paul may very well have known about the pedophilia problem among priests in Poland. But what would have happened if he gave the Soviet Union an excuse to crack down on the church by exposing the scandal? The historical reality of Saint John Paul’s tenuous position made doing anything about the pedophiles in the Church — if he knew about them — extremely risky.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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