Combatting paedophilia: Archbishop forbids priests to invite children


Central Europe


Photo ANP, Roos Koole

To protect children, the archbishop of Kraków in Poland has forbidden priests to talk with children about puberty and sexuality beyond the age-specific approved educational programs.

This was reported by Polish broadcaster TVN24.

The new set of rules, which come into force on January 1st, are there to protect children from abuse. “It should be emphasised that the rules do not only apply to minors, but also applies to vulnerable people as well as other faithful adults”, said Łukasz Michalczewski, press spokesman of the Krakow archdiocese to the Krakowian daily Gazeta Krakowska.

Further rules include the prohibition of priests being alone with a minor in their home or taking them anywhere by car, unless there is permission from the kid’s parents, as was reported by Notes from Poland.

All members of the Archdiocese of Krakow are obliged to follow the new decree, which has been in the making for over one and a half years. The clergy has 60 days to sign a declaration confirming that they are familiar with the provisions of the ruling. They should also inform the faithful that such a document was created and is in force.

The decree comes after a series of revelations in recent years of abuse by priests and attempts by the church hierarchy to cover up the issue . The Vatican has disciplined several Polish bishops for their negligence in dealing with the problem.

Marcin Przeciszewski, the Catholic Information Agency president, is happy with the decree. “This is an important and necessary document, which is an important stage in the Church’s fight against the crimes of sexual abuse of minors”, he said to Gazeta Krakowska.

However, not everyone is content with the new rules. “A parent who sends a child to a priest may think that if there are prohibitions, it means that you cannot fully trust the priest, although, in the vast majority of cases, there will be no real cause for concern. This can spoil relationships and introduce distance”, said Marcin Kędzierski. He is the main expert of the Analysis Center of the Jagiellonian Club. The club is a “republican and non-party association that tries to influence politics in the spirit of concern for the common good”.

According to Kędzierski, “the unwritten law and rules of appropriateness should be sufficient.” However, Kędzierski “understands” that after so many scandals, “it is difficult to trust in the effectiveness of such fraternal control.”



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